Here are some examples of projects that have recently received funding from the charity:
An on-going project to improve the specialised service on offer to women who have undergone FGM. This has included employing an expert counsellor and an FMG health advocate at our midwifery-led clinics. This ensures women receive holistic care and the support they need to deal with the psychological consequences of FGM. We have also partnered with the charity FORWARD to increase awareness through community champions.
A research fellowship looking at the use of a line instead of a fistula for older patients receiving haemodialysis in order to improve quality of life without clinical disadvantages. National guidelines strongly promote fistulas over lines for all patients. However, among older people the advantages of fistula formation are marginal at most. Fistula formation is time consuming, less successful and occasionally even harmful. This pilot study will examine which haemodialysis access method is best suited to older people.
The Paediatric Early Warning System (PEWS) is designed to identify children at risk of cardiac arrest or acute deterioration while staying in hospital. It was introduced at St Mary’s as part of a successful study in which the number of children unexpectedly admitted to intensive care significantly reduced. The charity is funding a day for international study participants to find out the results and share best practice.
The charity funded the cost of important cardiac equipment including a defibrillator and an ECG with Bluetooth for the Heart Assessment Centre at Hammersmith Hospital. This was part of a bigger project to improve patient flow at the centre through structural improvements and increasing the number of assessment beds.
The equipment gives more accurate information on cardiac and vascular functioning of critically ill patients during surgery and intensive care. This means patients should have a reduced length of stay, are less likely to need invasive monitoring after their operation, and have a lower chance of complications as a result of surgery. It also means they will have a lower likelihood of needing a second operation.
The first art rehabilitation service at the Imperial Stroke Centre will be running throughout 2017-2018. These weekly art sessions aim to improve the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of stroke patients. The creative process of making art is proven to reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and increase self-awareness. It is also a great way to create a less clinical environment where patients are free to express themselves.
A new clinic specialising in genetic eye diseases is being funded for 12 months at Western Eye Hospital. As patients with genetic eye diseases are currently referred to the heavily subscribed Moorfields Eye Hospital, this new clinic will improve patient care continuity and reduce delays in clinical diagnosis. It is hoped that the clinic will be able to treat 20-30 patients per month.
A grant has been given for essential equipment required to correctly diagnose hearing loss in children. This means children will be accurately diagnosed at their first appointment without the need to return to the hospital for further testing.
A new defibrillator for the neonatal ward at St Mary’s Hospital means vital time will no longer be lost during an emergency. The ward was previously sharing a defibrillator with the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and as a result a staff member would have to collect the device before it could be used in times of need.
There are around 12,600 new cases of oesophago-gastric cancers each year, mostly affecting people aged 50 and over. Research is being funded into whether volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the headspace vapour of urine can be used to identify patients at high risk of oesophago-gastric cancer. This project aims to validate the role of VOCs in diagnosing these cancers and develop a non-invasive urine test.
The project will fund three workshops for 16 patients aged 12-18 with allergic disease or sickle cell disease and eight parents of children/young adults with allergic disease that will enable them to create digital stories. Allergic and sickle cell disease are frequently misunderstood and can lead to missed school at critical times and affect other aspects of a sufferer’s life. The digital stories aim to educate, train and raise awareness of allergic and sickle cell disease within public services and among the general public and will be made freely available at www.patientvoices.org.
Three more Singing for Breathing Programmes have been funded over the next year. Research has shown that Singing for Breathing is a complementary therapy that improves quality of life for those with Chronic Lung Disease by providing a way of increasing patients' awareness and control of their breathing in a safe and enjoyable environment. Each programme consists of 14 one-hour sessions and will be held at Charing Cross Hospital.
Save Your Vein is a multidisciplinary initiative that aims to improve knowledge and practise of vein preservation in renal patients and healthcare staff. Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease affects 8.8% of adults in England for whom vein preservation is vital. Leaflets, posters, wristbands, alert cards and lanyards will increase knowledge and awareness, empower the patient and improve practise.
North West London Critical Care Network have worked closely with hospitals within the North West London sector to develop a transfer bag that holds all the essential equipment needed to safely transfer a critically ill patient between hospitals. The grant will fund 30 new transfer bags that will be distributed throughout relevant departments in Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals.
The grant will allow the Urology department at Charing Cross Hospital to provide on-site physio and exercise therapy. Pre-operative physiotherapy reduces surgical complications and improves recuperation post operatively. The grant will fund pre-operative physiotherapy sessions for 12 months and will mean that patients don’t have to travel to St Mary’s Hospital, improving access to the service and patient experience.
Although most men who undergo chemotherapy treatment will recover their fertility, delays in testing often lead to men presuming they are infertile. This study will investigate how patients’ psychosexual health is influenced by the information they are given about their fertility following cancer therapy and whether earlier testing encourages men surviving cancer to build long-term relationships.
Bowel (colorectal) cancer affects 40,000 people in the UK every year, with fewer than 60% surviving more than five years post diagnosis. This research fellowship looks at how electrical impedance technology (EIT) can accurately detect and distinguish colorectal cancer tissue from healthy colorectal tissue, based on the resistance against electrical flow through human tissue. This potentially means a non-surgical alternative to diagnosing and managing bowel cancer.
This research fellowship looks at the link between the amino acid beta-amyloid, largely involved in Alzheimer’s disease, and its deposition in the brain caused by brain inflammation which itself is triggered by excessive drinking. The study will use PET imaging to see if alcoholism can contribute to developing Alzheimer’s, and provide evidence to develop novel therapeutic targets and prevention and treatment strategies.
This study asks the question whether intensive, tailored support from pharmacists can help kidney transplant patients stick with their immunosuppressants, which help the body from rejecting the organ, better than patients getting the current standard of care.
At the moment there are no structured dietary education programmes to support people who live with both diabetes and chronic kidney disease. With poor survival rates and high rates of diabetes-related complications, it is hoped that this project, which will create and evaluate an education programme for those patients, will improve blood sugar stability, nutritional status and quality of life.
One in ten women screened for cervical cancer will have an abnormal result; the majority are referred for colposcopy and several require treatment. Currently it takes several weeks to receive a diagnosis due to histology testing in the laboratory. Two innovative technologies can analyse tissue samples and give an on the spot diagnosis of cancerous tissue. This study is going to trial these new technologies in cervical biopsies to differentiate between normal, precancerous and cancerous tissue. These technologies may be translated into accurate, real-time bedside diagnostics enabling clinicians to make immediate management decisions and one-stop clinics where disease eradication can be confirmed on the spot.
Patients presenting with changes in their bowel habit such as diarrhoea or constipation may be suffering from either inflammatory bowel disease or bowel cancer. Currently tests for both diseases must be done separately, so this project aims to create a new test which allows the simultaneous testing for two biomarkers increased in inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer, meaning a faster diagnosis for patients.
Funding has been given to the postnatal ward at St Mary’s to purchase three additional breast pumps, which also allow the unit to move a step closer to achieving UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Accreditation status. More breast pumps will enable more mums who are unable to feed their babies to express their milk and give their child the best nutritional start in life.
An innovative new project which aims to increase the number of patients using software that help improve cognitive function, hand eye co-ordination and patient wellbeing. Currently, the software is being used in dementia wards, with scope for use with patients that have various forms of traumatic brain injury. The new software can also work as a memory bank; patients can make a life collage and loved ones can record messages which when played back have been proven to relax patients, reassure relatives and help towards reducing the length of stay in hospital.
The maternity unit at St Mary’s is currently being renovated to ensure the highest standards of care are being kept up for new mothers and babies. The charity is providing a grant to purchase and install three new baby warming units. Maintaining a new born baby’s temperature immediately after delivery is crucial and these new units will prevent any significant fall in the baby’s temperature, which increases mortality risk.
A grant has been awarded to a vital new study looking to find a biological indicator which will improve the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancies. The condition, which occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes, is potentially life-threatening. Ectopic pregnancies still account for the highest rate of maternal deaths related to early pregnancy in the country. A better way of diagnosing ectopic pregnancies will reduce the risk of complications that are related to late diagnosis.
Balance problems affect 85% of head injury patients and prevent patients from getting their lives back after the initial injury. The team believe that a more focused approach to treating dysfunctional balance will accelerate patient recovery and allow patients to get back to their normal lives quicker; this pilot will also provide the evidence needed to streamline the current treatment pathway.
The grant will fund the development of a model of labour progression using ultra sound, which will generate a more accurate assessment of how labour is progressing while reducing the number of vaginal examinations. This assessment will improve understanding of how the birth is going for both new mothers and midwives. The funding will enable the birth centre to recruit a new midwife and clinical research fellow, as well as buy a new portable ultrasound machine, which will remain in the unit for research and training after this project finishes.
New evidence shows that patients who are more engaged in their care have better health outcomes. A pioneering care improvement program is currently being piloted within the cancer service; the first phase has thus far focused on ensuring patients are as ready as they can be for surgery. The next phase of the program aims to look at improving post-surgery care through a dedicated team comprising a new nurse post, an exercise therapist and clinical psychologist who will use a combination of peer support programmes, self-management coaching and innovative e-health support to help patients personalise their care.
Alcoholic liver disease is usually only diagnosable after irreversible liver damage has already set in. This project will pilot a new targeted service which aims to detect early signs of liver damage though a new scanning technique. This grant will also fund the appointment of a specialised nurse who will focus on education and intervention to try and prevent liver disease in patients with a history of alcohol dependence. Together this will enhance the treatment and care of a traditionally stigmatised group of patients using an innovative multi-disciplinary approach.
This grant will support the creation of a new nursing role to help reduce the boundaries between community care and acute hospital care. The aim of the project is to care for children as close to home as possible by supporting acute care in the community. Strengthening community care will also help relieve pressure on emergency departments, reduce unnecessary admissions and improve experience for families as they are able to care for their child in the comfort of home.
The purpose of this project is to increase patients’ involvement in their treatment and management of long term conditions. The grant will fund training and support for health professionals while they enable patients to self-administer their medication, so self-administration becomes more accessible for patients that want it. This change will increase patients’ independence and satisfaction, while also reducing pressure on hospitals.
This non-invasive, potentially life-altering procedure could improve the lives of the 120,000 people in the UK living with Parkinson’s disease in addition to the 1 million who suffer from essential tremors. Using a MR guided focused ultrasound to accurately deposit heat in specific parts of the brain that interrupt the unusual electrical circuits that are responsible for tremors, the MRI team based at St Mary’s hope to revolutionise the way tremors are controlled and managed.