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Melanie focused on helping ICU patients

 Dr Melanie Ryberg is at a female patient's bedside - the patient is wearing headphones and an is using visual technology equipment



Dr Melanie Ryberg has recently been appointed by Tallaght University Hospital as the first full-time Clinical Psychologist in an ICU Department in Ireland.

A Principal Specialist Clinical Psychologist, Dr Ryberg is working in Critical Care where her role is to identify and meet the psychological needs of patients and their families during an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) admission.

Melanie’s focus is on helping the 80% of patients in ICU who suffer from delirium, a condition that causes confusion and a lack of awareness of someone’s surroundings. She explains that delirium is a “significant issue in critical care. It is associated with a range of bad outcomes including length of stay, cognitive impairment, and mortality.” To improve the care provided to these patients, Melanie has introduced a range of what she describes as “orientation and humanisation measures.”

These include the use of a ‘digital whiteboard’ in ICU that gives clinicians the flexibility and creativity to display key information for patients relevant to their stage of recovery. This includes “basic orientation information for early stages of wakefulness, including simple things such as reminding the patient where they are and what day/date it is.”

Melanie also ensures that family photographs are on display to help patients feel more connected to the important people in their lives, as well as making sure staff are given information to help them really understand what matters most to the patients in their care. Her plans over the coming months include “enhancing psychological supports in ICU, whether it be for a patient with delirium or someone who may be in need of post-ICU treatment or entering their end-of-life care.”

Watch Melanie explain her role on YouTube