Covid-19 patients struggling to communicate in intensive care have been given a voice thanks to a groundbreaking new app.
The program, which can be downloaded free on to an iPad, helps people relay messages to doctors and nurses if they are on a ventilator or unable to speak because of medical tubes in their windpipe.
The app – called myICU voice – was developed by Dr Tim Baker and trialled at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
‘One of our patients used it to ask about her son,’ says Dr Mark Jefferys, a registrar using the app. ‘It was only then that we realised she had become convinced that he had died – and we were able to get him on a video call later that day to reassure her.’
A new app developed by NHS doctors has given Covid-19 patients in ICU with limited ability to speak the chance to communicate. The App, myICU voice can keep patients in contact with their families
New sign language is our top new hobby
Locked-down Britons may have been prevented from meeting friends and family over the past couple of months but that hasn’t stopped them trying their hand at new hobbies to fill the time.
Among the most popular – and rewarding – searches carried out on Google was ‘how to learn sign language’.
Almost 13,000 searches have been carried out on the subject since March, when strict new movement rules were brought in – a 175 per cent increase, according to data provider SEMrush.
Among the most popular – and rewarding – searches carried out on Google was ‘how to learn sign language’
‘How to learn Spanish’ was searched for 7,910 times, while ‘how to learn French’ was picked 6,800 times.
But Britons also showed a sense of fun too – the number of searches of the phrase ‘learn how to backflip’ soared by 182 per cent.
Britons could be at risk of yet another lethal lung disease post-lockdown – due to a build-up of dangerous bacteria, experts warn.
Employees returning to work in buildings left empty for weeks may be exposed to legionella bacteria, which can thrive in stagnant water systems. When inhaled, it can infiltrate the lungs and cause legionnaire’s disease, a form of pneumonia.
Debbie Wood, of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, issued an urgent warning to businesses to carry out safety checks. ‘It is vital that a second possible public health risk is avoided,’ she said.
PPE with a smiley face
Nurses are using emoji stickers – designed to look just like them – to communicate with children who are frightened of their PPE.
Although the visors and masks are essential, they can hide a person’s face and expressions.
Now the paediatric team at Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust in Surrey have begun using a ‘memoji – a smiley cartoon version of themselves attached to the visor – to make children feel more relaxed.
Paediatric nurse Carrie Reeve says: ‘As one of my young patients put it, “You look more friendly.” ’