Aftercare supports 100 patients and families in first year

100 patients and families access follow up care in the first 12 months of operation for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance’s new Aftercare team.

The team is made up of two of the charity’s specialist paramedics and an experienced nurse from University Hospital Southampton. They support patients who have been treated by the air ambulance crew as a result of serious illness or injury. Relatives of patients and on scene bystanders are also contacted by the team and offered help.

Since its launch, more than 400 patients, relatives and bystanders have been contacted with the offer of help, such as bereavement support, filling in gaps and answering questions based on each patient’s care and facilitating meetups between crew members and patients.

Gary Parsons, 58 from Eastleigh, had a cardiac arrest in a pub during a holiday on the Isle of Wight in 2021. Gary collapsed while he was out to lunch in Godshill with his wife Penny and their two friends. He was treated and airlifted to hospital.

A man and a lady in a busy indoor setting

He said:

“If it wasn’t for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance team who brought me back after almost an hour, I wouldn’t be here today. It took me nearly a year to fully recover, but I always had something missing.

“After such a traumatic event, I found it hard to get my head to understand what my body was going through. There seemed to be nowhere else to turn. But, luckily, the Aftercare team reached out to me and my wife, Penny. I had talks with them, visited the Airbase and charity offices where they listened to my feelings, discussed my treatment in detail and showed us the equipment that was used on me. That really helped both Penny and me deal with the trauma. It was incredibly eye opening.

“I would recommend anyone going through the same as me to reach out to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Aftercare team. Without them, I don’t think I would be where I am today.”

Nicola Hawkes, Aftercare Manager and Specialist Paramedic, said:

“Patients and their relatives often tell us that understanding what happened to them or their loved one and the treatment that was provided has really helped to make them feel supported.

“We know that supporting emotional trauma helps towards physical recovery, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone and that others have felt and been through the same thing allows them to feel seen and understood.”

Since its first flight in July 2007, the charity has responded to more than 18,000 emergency calls for help, many of which have been lifesaving. The charity relies entirely on donations from the public to keep the air ambulance flying and the service operational.

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