The Military Liaison Officer (MLO) will also provide recreational activities for the patients as soon as they are able to mobilise and are allowed off the wards. We are fortunate to receive many generous offers to attend sporting events and a particularly good day was a trip to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
One very important aspect of the patient's time at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) is normalisation. Casualties injured in theatre do not receive the usual decompression package received by those returning from Operational Deployments. For many, they are coming to terms with lifechanging injuries, and in some cases disfigurement.
To help manage this QEHB has its own dedicated military Mental Health Team, which consists of two highly experienced Army Psychiatric Nurses who help patients to understand the normal feelings they will be experiencing. The Patient Support Services (PSS) team also provide our own 'decompression', which we call a 'Pint and a Pizza'. This is where we take the patients out for a meal and their first pint to a local pub or restaurant.
Many patients are not able to finish this first pint but it's an enormous boost to have it there in front of them.
We go out in uniform with the patients' which takes the focus away a little and people quickly realise that the military are looking after their wounded. This decompression really helps the injured troops through the normalisation process, coming to terms with their injuries and being in the public eye. The public response is very positive and it is good for the patients to see and feel this public support first hand. We are also fortunate to have a number of celebrity visitors to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), which are huge for the morale of both patients and the staff.