Better Care

Tim’s Triumphant Challenge Makes a Difference for Ward 9

Last May, star supporter Tim Hartill raised over £1,800 in thanks for the care he received from the team on Ward 9 at Moseley Hall Hospital in 2019. Today, we’re taking a look at how that fantastic fundraising has been spent to enhance patient experience through communication and sensory aids on the ward.

Tim Hartill
Star supporter Tim

After experiencing a bleed on the brain in March 2019, Tim received emergency surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital followed by 4 months of rehabilitation at Moseley Hall’s Ward 9. To show his thanks to both hospitals for their care, Tim decided to cycle the 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats on his stationary bike; an amazing achievement for anyone, but particularly Tim, who had originally been told that he may never regain any movement on his left side.

Ward 9, BCHC’s Inpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Unit, provides specialist assessment and intensive rehabilitation for people with disabilities resulting from neurological conditions. Working closely with staff on the ward and supplementing the fundraising with monies raised by the PodUK podcast festival, BCHC Charity was able to fund a selection of communication and sensory equipment for the ward.

The ward quite often assess and treat people who cannot use speech to communicate, and as such staff chose to enhance the assessment experience and use the funds to purchase a Lightwriter. This is a form of Augmentative & Alternative Communication (or AAC); those who can use their hands and spell what they want to say can use the Lightwriter voice output to communicate with both staff and family members, aiding in assessment as well as providing the patient with a means to feel connected and empowered during their course of rehabilitation. Deborah Oakes-Hatton, a Speech & Language Therapy Assistant on the ward, says; “The Lightwriter has been invaluable in supporting a number of patients with their communication and engagement with others”. One of the patients who has benefited from using the Lightwriter said; “I like talking to others; this machine has helped me to do that. It takes a lot of practice and concentration and I still get it wrong at times, but it enables me to say what I want to.”

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The Lightwriter in use on Ward 9
Disco light

The team also purchased a Step-By-Step; a simple communication aid that can help a client request, comment, joke with staff or give instructions using recorded speech. This is very important for clients with emerging communication as it gives them access to opportunities to start interactions with others by choice. These types of devices are also helpful for clients who have more complex AAC systems who need something simpler for certain situations.

Early on in a client’s journey, therapy staff need to assess reactions to different stimuli, and so the team chose to purchase a sensory light for this purpose. This light has been specially adapted so that it can be activated by a sensitive switch for those with significantly limited mobility and causes a bright moving light, encouraging a response. This can be particularly helpful for people who have lost their hearing or have limited or otherwise affected hearing as a result of their brain injury. It may also assist the team in learning how much eye sight a person has. Since receiving the light, the ward has used it as a stimulus for hand/eye co-ordination, as cause and effect to support learning and gain or extend attention, and even as a disco ball for dancing and singing! One patient reported that “it makes it more fun in the therapy sessions”.

BCHC Charity would like to say a huge thank you to Tim Hartill for raising these funds to make a huge difference to Ward 9. “With the current global health crisis we are celebrating the heroes of the NHS, but to me, they’ve always been heroes”, says Tim.