Wheelchair loan service – spring appeal 2019

Whether we are at home or at work, we all have our favourite chair…

the one that fits our body shape well and remains comfortable no matter how long we’re sitting down.

For our patients, it is even more important that they have a wheelchair which offers comfort and support. For almost all of them, their wheelchair is their primary means of mobility. The right wheelchair offers them independence, and the opportunity to engage in many of the activities and therapies on offer as part of their rehabilitation following a brain injury.

One person who understands just how vital a good wheelchair is to a patient’s recovery and quality of life is Lisa, an occupational therapist working in our Brain Injury Service. Lisa explains;

“Our priority when a patient arrives is to assess how they sit, and decide what equipment they need to achieve a good posture. We’re fortunate that at the RHN we can provide lots of adaptations to patient seating that you just wouldn’t get elsewhere”.

To assess a patient for a wheelchair, Lisa works with our Physiotherapy team and members of our Seating and Postural Management service. Together they aim to provide a suitable loan wheelchair where needed, within 48 hours of a patient’s admission.
With 99% of our patients requiring a wheelchair, the Seating and Postural Management team always need a stock of wheelchairs which they can quickly modify to meet patients’ needs.

The Wheelchair and Postural Management team build and adapt wheelchairs for over 150 patients every year, and some patients will require several chairs during their stay at the RHN.

A donation from you today means you’ll be helping even more patients and residents gain access to this vital service.

For this reason, we operate a Wheelchair Loan Store, packed with everything from frames and cushions to head rests and foot plates. The store allows our technicians to try a huge variety of seating solutions for each patient until the ideal combination is found.

Once a patient has been seated in their new wheelchair, they can then move off their ward and participate in many of the therapies and activities Lisa likes to arrange, such as cooking in the patient kitchen, creative projects in the art room, and trips to the shops.

For our brain injured patients these activities help to improve cognition, spatial awareness, upper body strength and dexterity, as well as improving quality of life and enhancing mood.

But the service doesn’t stop there. As each patient progresses through their rehabilitation and their needs and recovery goals change, so does their wheelchair – and our technicians are on hand to make any necessary adjustments, such as altering a chair from one propelled by an assistant, to one that is self-propelled by the patient.
For those who may have spent months in an intensive care bed, the new found freedom of a personalised wheelchair can be a symbol of hope for their recovery, the first step in their rehabilitation and a return to life outside a hospital environment.

The importance of a wheelchair to someone with a brain injury is why we are committed to providing the best solution for every patient as quickly as we can.

The wheelchairs provided as part of our loan store service are not funded by the NHS. We therefore have to fundraise to cover the costs of all the equipment we use.

Any donation you can make will ensure our patients can continue to access this service, which is so important to their recovery and their sense of independence.

We hope you’ll consider supporting this appeal with a gift today.