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An evaluation of the experiences of an ECMO clinical support team implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kimberley Driver, Emma Shaw Núñez, Danielle Shaffi

  • Abstract
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The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increased demand for critical care provision, with healthcare services and staff having to adopt novel ways of working to meet patient needs.


This service evaluation explores the experience and implementation of a team of healthcare staff voluntarily redeployed to a newly created role supporting staff and patients on an intensive care unit (ICU) providing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to patients with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.


This service evaluation presents a qualitative analysis of the team members’ responses to a questionnaire.


Respondents found participation in the team to be a positive experience. This was attributable to effective training, support and positive feedback from the existing staff, as well as feelings of being valued, contributing to patient care and developing new skills. Learning points were highlighted, including the need for a timely implementation of such a team, with extended training to enhance the team’s collaboration with the existing staff. Comprehensive communication of the role of the team to the existing staff and an agreed list of tasks could enable the team to be utilised more effectively.


Staff can be successfully redeployed into a support role on ICU without prior experience of the environment. These findings can inform workforce planning and the implementation of similar support teams in the event of future crises.

2022 Journal (Vol. 54 Issue 2)
Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care. Volume 54. Issue 2. 2022. Article on: p4-19
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