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Glitter Strikes Intensive Care

Glitter Strikes Intensive Care

Glittered wristbands are the newest fashion accessory hitting the nation’s Intensive Care Units this October. Conventional hospital wristbands have been given a make-over in five glittering fashion shades and are being sold in support of the nationwide Intensive Care Appeal. The Appeal runs for three weeks from 7-27 October 2002 to raise funds for Intensive Care research.

Staff, patients and families from the 31 Intensive Care Units across New Zealand will be the first to “model” the wristbands when they go on sale. By purchasing and wearing a wristband people show they are “life-supporters”.

The bands, together with “heartbeat” bookmarks will be sold through branches of the ANZ, the principal partner for the Appeal, and national retail partners – Unichem and Dispensary First pharmacies. Donations can also be deposited at ANZ branches, on or by calling 0900 707 707.

Intensive care touches nearly all New Zealanders with 20,000 of us admitted to an Intensive Care Unit each year. Every day hundreds of New Zealand lives rely on the help of Intensive Care teams at hospitals nationwide.

The reality is, every New Zealander is a candidate for Intensive or Critical Care - it can affect anyone at any age and at anytime. Most New Zealanders would have had a family member, friend or colleague whose life has been saved through the dedication, specialised skills and medical support of an Intensive Care team. Many of these people start their day feeling well and finish the day on life support - whether through a car crash, an accident around the home or an accelerated infection. And with the skills and round the clock, one-on-one care provided by Intensive Care doctors and nurses, many lives have been saved. The Intensive Care Appeal is being run by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Foundation and the New Zealand Appeal Board headed by Fran Wilde.

The trans-Tasman cooperation aims to raise $10 million over five years to save more lives in Intensive Care. Fran Wilde says that if intensive care survival could be increased by as little as two percent, hundreds more lives can be saved each year.

“This figure is equivalent to the combined annual road toll of New Zealand and Australia and is in addition to the 85,000 patients per year already saved through Intensive Care. Between our two countries we can improve our ability to deliver intensive care to critically ill patients and save more lives.”

The Appeal is raising money for research targeted in four areas: lung injury, traumatic brain injury, infection and prevention. Working with existing resources, the research aims to improve survival outcomes. Already the 2001 Appeal has contributed towards the first research study now underway to determine the usefulness of albumin versus saline in the resuscitation of patients.

New Zealand and Australia are world leaders in establishing a bi-National strategy for Intensive Care, which promotes a centrally coordinated approach to research, guidelines and outcomes strategy. Dedicated funding is required for each specific area and for research.

There are 180 Intensive Care Units or Critical Care Units in New Zealand and Australia, caring for 100,000 patients a year. Of these, the 31 units in New Zealand care for 20,000 patients annually. Across the two countries there is an 85 percent survival rate and quality outcomes. This is due largely to the dedicated 24 hour nursing and specialist care necessary to look after the critical conditions and illnesses suffered by patients admitted to an Intensive Care Unit.

“Those admitted to intensive care are usually faced with acute and immediately life-threatening problems requiring closely monitored care and treatment. We stabilise patients and get them through the most critical time,” explains Dr Tony Smith, Intensive Care Specialist at Auckland Hospital’s Department of Critical Care Medicine.

“Typical conditions for intensive care include road or fall trauma involving brain, spinal or internal injuries, overwhelming infections in vital organs such as pneumonia, severe breathing difficulties and cardiovascular conditions.”

Dr Smith points out Intensive Care is not “ER”. Treatment and care is refined and closely monitored, requiring fine-tuning, careful balancing and quick response, when required - making research a vital component in the treatment and survival of Intensive Care patients.

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