A West London dad is taking part in the RideLondon100 this weekend to give back to the ward that treated his twins after they were born seven weeks early.
Giovanni Vecchia will be joining the gruelling 100 mile cycle through London and Surrey to raise money for the Winnicott Unit that cared for his twins, Beatriz and Otto.
“From the initial consultation the staff were just amazing”, said Giovanni. “All the staff, midwives, doctors, nurses, cleaners, everyone played an important role to make my wife and I feel really comfortable. We knew our babies were in great hands.”
“Fundraising is a way for us to say thank you for everything. They did a brilliant job and we hope everybody can carry on helping premature babies have a chance to survive and a better life.”
The event is part of Prudential RideLondon, a three day festival of cycling. Last year saw 27,000 people take part in the event where riders start at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, cycle past picturesque London landmarks before riding through the stunning Surrey countryside and finally finishing outside Buckingham Palace.
In 2016, the charity’s team of 16 riders journeyed a combined 1600 miles to raise more than £8,000 for wards and departments across the Trust and this year the charity is hoping to raise even more.
You can sponsor Giovanni at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Beatriz-Otto
Museum visits facilitated by the charity are making a huge difference for patients on the Albert Ward, allowing them to learn, discuss and reminisce with others.
The Wallace Collection’s ‘Out of the Frame’ programme delivers interactive workshops to older patients, bringing the museum experience to them.
Patients on the ward can face extended stays, which can leave the patients feeling lonely and, in some cases, delirious. The monthly visits, offering patients the chance to handle historical objects and explore famous paintings, help them to socialise and keep their minds active.
“We have lots of different themes and handling items in our collection”, said Sarah Fairbairn, Community Officer at the museum. “We take out paintings, photocopies people can keep, magnifying glasses, things to touch and smell and we have a conversation about the Wallace Collection.”
“I’m there for an hour so we can have a really nice conversation and get to know each over that time. People have a chance to get really engaged and we can go at a nice leisurely pace that suits them and be as inclusive as possible. If I leave and people are smiling, then I think it’s made a difference.”
One of the patients, Eve, is normally a regular visitor to galleries and museums. “It’s an hour extremely pleasantly spent, particularly if you’ve been here for quite a while”, she said. “It’s a complete change of scenery; it’s stimulating and gets you out of your own problems.”
The initiative is one of many arts projects that the charity has supported to benefit patients including craft workshops for dementia patients, art therapy for stroke patients and art workshops for those undergoing dialysis.
For more information about our engagement programme, visit http://www.imperialcharity.org.uk/audience-engagement-programme
The arts can make a “powerful contribution” to address the challenges facing our health and social care system, according to a ground-breaking new report by MPs.
A parliamentary inquiry into the link between arts, health and wellbeing found that creativity has a key role to play in keeping us healthy.
After two years of research and evidence-gathering, MPs presented their findings in the House of Commons today (July 19).
They concluded that arts-based approaches can help people stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life.
Imperial Health Charity is proud to support the arts in healthcare and works hard to improve patients’ hospital experience through an extensive audience engagement programme.
We also manage a growing hospital art collection, which has been awarded full museum accreditation by Arts Council England.
Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “The MPs’ report makes a very strong case for the arts to play a central role in our health and social care system and it is fantastic to see policy-makers embracing the arts at the highest level.
“At Imperial Health Charity, we aim to change the way patients and NHS staff experience the hospital environment. We believe art can transform clinical and intimidating spaces into bright and uplifting areas, while engaging with patients at the bedside and in communal groups to enhance their recovery.”
One of the many arts projects we organise is a weekly workshop at Hammersmith Hospital’s Auchi Dialysis Unit, led by artist Fay Ballard.
Fay visits patients every Wednesday, helping them develop ideas for artworks and then providing the materials to bring them to life.
The project has been hugely successful, enabling patients to reclaim the lost hours spent on dialysis and create artworks with a strong personal importance.
Maura Appelbe, Matron of the Acute Dialysis Service at Hammersmith Hospital, said: “The unit is open plan. We have very little natural light and we have a very heightened awareness of infection control, which makes it quite a clinical environment. Although we can provide some privacy and dignity, it makes it very sterile.
“The art has been a great escape for the patients. We have minimal wall space, so to bring art to patients’ bedsides has been a revelation.”
For more information about Imperial Health Charity’s audience engagement programme, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/audience-engagement-programme
To read Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, visit http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/appg-inquiry/#APPGAHW
Two bystanders injured on Westminster Bridge were reunited with the St Mary’s Major Trauma team on Thursday at an event organised to help those involved process the attack.
Cara and Stephen Lockwood were visiting London to celebrate Stephen’s 40th birthday when they were struck by the attacker’s car. Although Cara escaped with bruises and a twisted ankle, Stephen received injuries to his face, chest and leg, requiring a four hour operation and a lengthy, ongoing rehabilitation process.
The ‘reflective pause’ event, held at the nearby Hilton Metropole and funded by Imperial Health Charity, allowed staff to meet them again and discuss the incident in a calm, supportive environment.
Shehan Hettiaratchy, Trauma Lead at the Trust, believes taking the time to do this is an important process.
“We’ve got really dedicated staff here who work really hard for our patients. Normally we don’t see what an amazing impact we, as an organisation, have on their lives and how grateful they are for that and that’s really important.”
“We heard from staff members that have never had a patient say thank you to them for all their hard work and I think actually it’s good for our staff and it’s good for our patients to have that opportunity.”
For Stephen and Cara, who are still feeling the impact of the attack every day, being able to speak with those involved in their care and thank them in person was something that they were both keen to do.
“It was quite a humbling experience,” said Stephen. “We don’t consider ourselves important people but when people tell you that your feedback is important, that’s really nice.”
“It was productive for us and part of our healing process and it’s important to give something back because the hospital gave us so much. The attack happened and they would have been affected by it like anybody would, but then they had to do a job on top of that; it really is incredible.”
Cara agrees, adding: “For me, I think it was really helpful, I think I managed to say to people how I felt and what I’ve been wanting to say since this whole thing happened.”
“I hope they all took something from it, I hope it gave them a bit of warmth in their heart. They’re doing a brilliant job. They’re not machines, they’re human beings and there is a lot of care that goes into it and they should really be proud of themselves.”
The couple’s ordeal was documented in the first episode of the second series of BBC’s Hospital where we see Shehan operate on Stephen, repairing a broken tibia and fibula and a deep cut to his leg. Stephen remained critically ill for days afterwards and we follow his recovery while Cara waits by his side.
The episode also showed the compassion and hard work put in by the staff throughout A&E as even those who weren’t working that day came in make sure patients had the best care possible.
Although such dedication from Trust staff is the norm, Shehan says that events like this can help remind them not to only focus on their patients.
“The best thing for me that Cara and Stephen said to us was that we need to look after ourselves and that’s really important for our staff to go away and think about. We need to make time for ourselves, our families, friends and colleagues.”
A London business owner has completed a remarkable cancer recovery by climbing one of the UK’s highest mountains - only a year after undergoing life-saving surgery.
Rashmi Chauhan, 61, reached the top of Mount Snowdon alongside the medical team from St Mary's Hospital who helped him through his illness.
Rashmi was housebound and feeding through a tube for several months following an operation to remove a cancerous tumour from his oesophagus last June.
He was supported on his road to recovery by the PREPARE for Surgery team, who offer a unique multi-disciplinary service providing support for patients before and after surgery.
The team, along with Rashmi, climbed Snowdon as part of the Three Peaks Challenge, which also included Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. They raised more than £10,000 for Imperial Health Charity, which supports the five hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Rashmi, who lives in Hillingdon and owns a dry-cleaning business and a milkshake and dessert shop, said: “I would never have envisaged that I could climb this mountain. It is amazing what the human body can endure, how you can find that inner strength.
“I never looked back, I just kept going and going and going. When I reached the top, that’s when it all sunk in. I thought, I’m going to cherish this moment for the rest of my life. It was a tremendous feeling to be back with those people again.
“Climbing Snowdon confirmed for me that I’m in far better health than I was before the operation. The PREPARE team have given me a new lease of life. I’m a different person today than I was before the operation.”
Last year Imperial Health Charity awarded a grant of almost £100,000 to develop the PREPARE programme.
The programme provides personalised support and aims to put patients in the best position for their surgery and recovery thereafter. It includes structured exercise, psychological interventions to improve self-confidence and nutritional support.
The PREPARE team recently received two British Medical Journal awards – Surgical Team of the Year and the Patient Participation award for patient involvement.
Imperial Health Charity will put all the money raised from the Three Peaks Challenge back into supporting the PREPARE team’s work with cancer patients.
Venetia Wynter-Blyth, Nurse Consultant and PREPARE programme co-leader, said: “It was a privilege accompanying Rashmi to the summit of Snowdon. It is testimony to Rashmi, but also the PREPARE programme and team. Climbing Snowdon requires physical fitness but also mental resolve – these are attributes that we develop throughout the programme.
“Rashmi embodies the spirit of PREPARE and is an inspiration to many – not just patients but healthcare professionals. We plan to make this an annual event and have even started to recruit patients for next year.”
Krishna Moorthy, Consultant Surgeon and PREPARE programme co-leader, said: “When Rashmi told me that he felt healthier after surgery than before, it confirmed something that we have noticed in many of our patients. The benefits of PREPARE extend beyond the immediate period around surgery through sustaining positive behavioural and lifestyle changes well into the future.”
Imperial Health Charity is to join forces with several other NHS charities to develop a set of new evaluation guidelines that will help us improve our work across the Trust’s hospitals.
We will be working closely with the Maddox Group of NHS charities and the charity sector think tank NPC to create a set of tools for assessing our impact.
Part of NPC’s Inspiring Impact initiative, the project aims to help charities better understand how their work is making a difference.
The Maddox Group comprises 12 of the largest NHS charities – including Imperial Health Charity – who will pilot the tools developed by Inspiring Impact.
The project will enable NHS charities to speak collectively about their vital work supporting patients and staff across the country.
Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “For any charity, knowing the difference your funding makes to your beneficiaries is important. For NHS charities, helping patients in hospitals at very vulnerable times in their lives, it is vital we can measure the impact of our work effectively and see where we can really change things for the better.
“Bringing together NHS charities through the Maddox Group and working with experts at Inspiring Impact will enable us to do so, and we are excited about the difference this study will make to our strategy for the future.”
Imperial Health Charity supports the five hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust by providing state-of-the-art equipment, funding research fellowships, supporting patients at times of financial hardship, organising hundreds of dedicated volunteers and managing an impressive art collection and engagement programme.
Alongside CW+ (Chelsea & Westminster Health Charity) and the Royal Free Charity, we have led the way in developing collaborative strategies for demonstrating charitable impact on the NHS and its patients.
NPC previously worked with NHS charities to create a ‘theory of change’ framework enabling the charities to understand what they have in common, despite differences in size and scope.
60 thrill seekers, including staff, patients and their families, scaled St Mary’s Hospital in April, raising over £15,000 for the More Smiles Appeal.
The appeal, a joint initiative between Imperial Health Charity and COSMIC, is aiming to raise £2m to upgrade and expand the hospital’s children’s intensive care unit, transforming it into a state-of-the-art facility that matches the expertise of its staff.
Despite the weather, which saw participants braving sun, rain, wind and hail, the day was a huge success and raised even more than last year’s impressive £10,600, all of which will all go towards helping the hospital treat more critically ill children.
One of the abseilers, Natalie Richardson, was taking part in honour of her son Luca, who tragically passed away after being treated in the unit.
“I thought the leaning over the edge would be really hard but actually that was the easiest bit!” she said. “I’m not too bad with heights. The hardest thing was coming back to the hospital because we haven’t been back since we lost our son eight years ago so actually after getting past that, the abseil was easy.”
Natalie and her partner, Toby, began fundraising shortly after they lost their son as a way of giving back to the staff that fought so hard for their son and have raised over £66,500 to date.
“It’s an on-going thing for us really. We’ve done a marathon and loads of our friends and family have done so many different events. We’ve got a charity golf day coming up which last year raised about £15,000!”
To find out more about the More Smiles Appeal, including how you can get involved, visit moresmiles.org.uk
A London student who spent Christmas in a coma after being hit by a car was reunited with the medics who saved his life at Imperial Health Charity’s Walk for Wards.
Matt Gunnee, 22, met the team from the adult intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital after completing the five-mile sponsored walk.
More than 130 people took part in the event on Sunday 9 July, raising thousands of pounds to support the charity’s work.
Matt, a medical student at Imperial College London, underwent an emergency craniotomy at St Mary’s in November after he and three of his friends were knocked down as they crossed the road.
Doctors put Matt into a coma after the operation and he wasn’t ‘woken up’ until early January.
Six months later, Matt is out of hospital and on the mend. He is still undergoing neurorehabilitation but was fit enough to take part in the walk, raising £332 for the ICU.
At the finish line he was reunited for the first time with some of the staff who cared for him following his operation.
Matt said: “When you’re in a coma, the big thing that’s important is that your loved ones are looked after.
“No doubt my parents had the worst Christmas they have had for 22 years, but I cannot speak highly enough of the ICU team who made sure my family were OK.”
Matt has been volunteering with Imperial Health Charity as part of his neurorehabilitation programme and plans to restart the fourth year of his studies in September 2018.
He said he was inspired to take part in Walk for Wards to make sure others get the same second chance at life.
He added: “My story ended really well and I am slowly getting back to normal but it could have been much worse. I don’t want other people’s stories to have a sad ending.”
The event was the charity’s biggest ever sponsored walk, bringing together NHS staff, grateful patients and members of the local community to support the Trust’s five hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye.
Among the walkers were nurses raising money for the Victor Bonney gynaecology ward at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, the chemotherapy day unit at Hammersmith and the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s.
One nurse, Savi Ramkissoon from the ICU team, took part in the walk only four hours after finishing a long night-shift on the ward.
Laura Kell, Head of Fundraising at Imperial Health Charity, said: “We have been blown away by the fantastic efforts of all our fundraisers. Every step they took at Walk for Wards and every penny they raised will help us help our hospitals do more. We are so grateful to everyone who took part or volunteered to help out on the day.”
If you’ve been inspired by Walk for Wards, you can find out more about fundraising for Imperial Health Charity at www.imperialcharity.org.uk/fundraising-events
A team of 50 student midwives have raised more than £10,000 to support bereaved mothers after completing a remarkable marathon walk.
The Marathon4Mothers fundraising total smashed through five figures this week following the 23-mile sponsored walk on 21 June.
Raising money for Imperial Health Charity, the midwives stopped off at seven hospitals along the way and released a commemorative balloon at each mile marker.
The 11-hour walk – on the hottest June day for 40 years – began at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington at 8am before reaching Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital just after 7pm.
The event was inspired by trainee midwife Lauren Petrie, whose daughter Jada was stillborn at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea in 2014.
“As a member of society, I feel you should take responsibility for giving something back,” said Lauren.
“I was born at Hammersmith Hospital and my brother was born at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea. I feel like I want my local hospital to be the best it can be. I can’t stop anyone else having a stillbirth, but I can make it better for parents.”
Following her tragic loss three years ago, Lauren chose to support the charity by raising money for the redevelopment of a new bereavement suite at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, which has provided other parents with a calm and private space to grieve.
After deciding to train as a midwife, she began giving talks to parents about her experience of losing a child and soon inspired her fellow trainees.
They agreed to raise money for ‘Jada’s Room’, the fund set up by Imperial Health Charity to support the upkeep of the bereavement suite at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea. The fund also covers the cost of staff training, counselling, financial support for funeral costs and an annual remembrance service.
Some of the money raised from the Marathon4Mothers challenge will go towards ‘Jada’s Room’, with two other charities - Remember My Baby and Islamic Help’s Birth Campaign – also benefiting from the event.
Laurie Matthews, who helped to organise the walk, said: “The day was a massive success despite the heat. We kept our spirits up by singing, dancing and looking out for sprinklers and fountains along the way!
“Our target was to raise £10,000 and we have actually hit that. We are over the moon that it went so well and want to thank everyone who donated.”
If you would like to donate towards the Marathon4Mothers event, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=Marathon4Mothers&faId=823249&isTeam=true
Londoners whose lives were transformed by the extraordinary efforts of the capital’s top doctors and nurses have pledged to give back to the NHS at Imperial Health Charity's biggest ever sponsored walk.
Hundreds of hospital staff and supporters are set to show their appreciation at Walk for Wards on Sunday 9 July.
The event is expected to raise tens of thousands of pounds for healthcare projects at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust's five west London hospitals - Charing Cross, Hammersmith, St Mary’s, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and Western Eye.
Collectively, the walkers are due to cover more than 500 miles during the walk – the same distance as marching from Big Ben to John O’Groats.
Thankful patients and hospital staff have come forward in their droves to take part in the challenge, sharing dramatic stories of the outstanding medical care they received in their hour of need. Here are just a few of them:
‘Cancer care saved my father’s life’For the last 18 years, Tim O’Sullivan’s father, Terry, has lived with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – a blood disease that attacks lymph nodes all over the body. The disease recently become more aggressive and Terry has required intensive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.
Tim is bidding to run the entirety of the five-mile course, raising money for the team who treated his father at Hammersmith Hospital.
“The hospital and cancer day care unit have been amazing in their care towards my Dad over the past few months,” he said.
“From the donations given at previous charity events, the hospital has been able to invest in new equipment and facilities to help those in need just like my Dad.
“Without these donations from the general public, the journey we have been on would have been 10 times harder with even more challenges to face.”
‘Dedicated staff look after patients’ mental health’
Celestine Buluma is a mental health nurse based at Charing Cross Hospital. One of a team of 11 specialists, his work spans several wards, providing support for any patient experiencing mental health issues or dementia.
For Celestine, Walk for Wards is a chance to celebrate the importance of good mental health in hospital while raising money to support the team’s work.
“Patients come into the hospital with physical problems or issues, but there are often mental health issues too,” he said.
“The truth is that we are financially restricted in terms of what we can do for patients, but we can offer our support on a one-to-one basis.”
‘We are walking for thermometers’
Members of staff at Hammersmith Hospital’s chemotherapy day unit have teamed up with their patients in a bid to raise more than £1,500 for cancer care at Walk for Wards.
The 10-strong team will put the money towards a 'thermometer fund', enabling each patient to be given a thermometer to monitor their symptoms at home.
“We are getting better at treating cancer but it’s also becoming more and more expensive for patients,” nurse practitioner Lizzy Nkolobe explained.
“The disease can cause them to have ‘low bloods’, which predisposes them to infection. The cheapest and easiest way to check this is to check temperature with a thermometer. Every patient should have one.”
Imperial Health Charity’s Walk for Wards takes place on Sunday 9 July, starting and finishing at Merchant Square in Paddington. Participants can choose to walk either a two-mile or five-mile route.
Last year’s event raised more than £20,000 to help the charity fund dozens of projects for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, including major redevelopments, clinical research and initiatives to improve the patient experience.
For more information about Walk for Wards and to sign up for the event, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/walkforwards
The entry fee is £10 for adults and £5 for NHS staff, children (aged five to 17) and concessions. Under-fives can walk for free.
There is no minimum sponsorship. However, the charity will match fund the first 100 people that sign up to take part in the walk up to the value of £100.
Last night’s episode of Hospital showed our health service at its best: dedicated, passionate staff demonstrating their professionalism during a major crisis.
We saw how all the staff pull together in the aftermath of a major incident like the Westminster attack. Whether they’re a surgeon performing a life-saving operation or a hospital porter helping free up beds, everyone plays a vital part in making sure patients get the best care possible.
Shehan Hettiaratchy, Major Trauma Director and Lead Surgeon at the Trust, is one of these people. He played a prominent role in the episode and we saw him responding to the initial influx of patients and later treating Stephen, who was visiting London with his wife, Cara, when they were struck by the perpetrator’s vehicle.
Shehan spoke to the charity about the attack, the benefits of programmes like Hospital and the charity’s support for the A&E department.
“We’d been expecting a terrorist attack in the UK for 6 months and assumed London had to be one of the most likely targets,” he said. “It arrived and then you then switch into a well-rehearsed plan and that worked very well.”
“We have a major incident plan; we’d been rehearsing for having a far greater number of casualties than this. We prepare by practicing scenarios, practicing the pathways and practicing how we respond.”
The episode showed the plan in action, with Lesley Powls, site director at St Mary’s, donning the major incident hi-vis jacket (which she’s done twice more since the attack) and A&E staff scrambling to make sure beds were free and all non-essential treatment postponed.
“Everyone performed really well, it was all very smooth, very slick and I think they performed how I’d expect them to given the professionalism that exists within our centre, all the trauma centres around the country and the NHS in general.”
Shehan has nothing but praise for the show and the way it offers a down to earth, realistic portray of the Trust.
“I think programmes like Hospital are really important. I quite like the way the production company have been very understated throughout and I think this was an episode where they could have overblown it and they haven’t. They’ve kept it simple, very understated, they’ve focused on patients and that’s why it’s a very powerful bit of television.”
“What I like about Hospital is that it tells the truth. It also challenges the public; what would they do? There are important discussions to be had about how we fund the NHS, what kind of healthcare we want and as a society we haven’t had those yet and we need to do that.”
The A&E department provides a crucial service and we’ve been proud to support it in recent years. Notable improvements funded by the charity include a £3.5 million upgrade, resulting in increased capacity, and our Major Trauma Appeal which raised £1 for the major trauma centre that played such a key role in the episode.
The appeal paid for a Belmont Rapid Infuser, equipment which allows staff to quickly transfuse blood and fluids into patients at high volumes, much faster than was previously possible.
“It’s a really important bit of equipment,” said Hettiaratchy. “We get a lot of people in our trauma centre who have had penetrative trauma, particularly from knife cuts, a real problem in this part of London. We have a large number of people who rapidly need to have blood volume replacement.”
“We saw that with some of our casualties from the Westminster bridge incident and I think the Belmont Rapid Infuser really makes a big difference to what we can deliver quickly. It’s state of the art and that’s where we want to be.”
Because of the high volume of stabbings seen at the hospital, we partnered with the charity Redthread to tackle youth violence in London.
The programme helps young people involved in violence to turn their lives around by connecting them with youth workers while they’ve recovering in hospital.
“It’s been a really good initiative,” said Shehan. “We have a real problem with knife crime among adolescents and it’s really important for Redthread to intervene.”
“We often get people who’ve been stabbed once come back in again and often when they come back in, they’re dead. If we can break that cycle and break into their mindset and change their behaviour and change what people do to each other then it’s good. Prevention is always better than any kind of cure.”
“We’re massively appreciative of everything the charity has done for us. The fact that the stuff you’ve provided is being used on a daily basis, that goes to show that it’s money well spent. It’s made a big impact.”
We’re proud to support the incredible staff at the St Mary’s A&E department and will continue to do so. If you’d like to get involved and show your support to those who deal with some of London’s worst crises, please visit our fundraising page to find out how you can donate, take part in one of our regular fundraising events or organise your own. 100% of the money raised by the charity goes back to improving patient care around the Trust.
You can read more about our work to support the St Mary’s A&E department here.
A mobile app, funded by the charity, is part of a new approach to helping parents get more involved in caring for premature children.
The pioneering new approach is the result of an £180,000 grant to teach the parents of premature children how to wash, feed and observe their child, as well as administer medical care under the supervision of hospital staff.
The traditional care model for premature babies takes control away from the parents, which can detract from typical familial bonding and often leads to anxiety among parents and babies.
“We had feedback in the traditional care model that parents don’t feel like a parent”, said Aniko Deierl, Consultant Neonatologist at the Trust. “They feel like visitors or spectators in the neonatal unit and it’s only one or two weeks before discharge where the neonatal team says ‘now you need to get involved because you’re going home’ and that can be very scary for them.”
With this approach. parents undergo supervised training and competency assessments to ensure that they are confident in caring for their baby.
The Integrated Family Delivered Care app, currently available for iPhone and iPad, provides accurate medical information that parents can rely on for support. It also allows parents to record their baby’s progress and share it with others.
Although the app is the first of its kind, similar patient-delivered approaches have seen success around the world.
“A Dean from Toronto’s Mt Sinai Hospital had already done a pilot project and was in the process of doing a multicentred randomised control trial using family integrated care,” said Jay Banerjee, Neonatal Consultant at the Trust. “We got really interested, it’s a really low cost and high output programme where the patients as well as the baby can really benefit from it.”
Ian Lush, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “Imperial Health Charity is delighted to be supporting this project, which helps parents of premature babies feel less isolated and confused at what is a very stressful time. The app helps them to communicate with family and friends as their baby progresses, while the involvement in the daily care of their baby is proven to bring real benefits to the baby and parents alike.”
The grant supports two project coordinator roles, the hiring of a psychology assistant and the development and maintenance of the app. The project is currently running at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital but will soon commence at St Mary’s.
Although the app was designed with parents at the Trust’s hospitals in mind, it’s also being used around the UK as well as being endorsed by Bliss, a charity working to provide the best possible care for premature and sick babies.
An Android version of the app is expected to be released later this year. You can download it for iPhone and iPad here.
We’re delighted to be playing our part in London’s biggest ever Creativity and Wellbeing Week, with a series of events taking place at St Mary’s Hospital.
More than 300 tours, talks, exhibitions and attractions are taking place all over the capital during the week to celebrate the many ways in which art can improve our health and wellbeing.
The festival, organised by the London Arts and Health Forum (LAHF), comes ahead of the publication of a landmark report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for arts, health and wellbeing.
MPs on the committee are expected to set out the most comprehensive ever examination of the link between arts and health, and the benefits that creativity can bring for everyone in society.
This week our arts team will be leading two special tours at St Mary’s Hospital, demonstrating how we can use art to transform clinical environments and provide a stimulating experience for patients.
On Friday, a guided tour of our Art in Focus exhibition will give visitors the chance to find out about the work of abstract painter Sandra Blow.
Later in the afternoon, visitors will also have the chance to take a look at our recently installed art commissions in the accident and emergency department.
Expert designers at the Helix Centre, a project between Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, will round off the week with an interactive workshop and drop-in exhibition exploring how innovations in design can improve end of life care for terminally ill patients.
Alice Strickland, Imperial Health Charity’s Art Curator, said: “Creativity and Wellbeing Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the many different ways in which imagination and invention through art can help improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in society.
“We’re delighted to be able to put our wonderful collection in the spotlight and look forward to demonstrating how we are using art on a daily basis to transform the hospital experience for patients and staff.”
The Helix Centre workshop takes place at the team’s studio in Norfolk Place, opposite the QEQM building, on Friday 16 June between 1pm and 2pm, with a drop-in exhibition between 2pm and 6.30pm.
The Art in Focus exhibition is on the Ground Floor of the Cambridge Memorial Wing in Praed Street, also on Friday 16 June between 12pm and 1pm.
The accident and emergency department tour, also on Friday 16 June, takes place between 2pm and 3pm.
All events are free with no need to book in advance.
For more information about each event, visit the relevant pages on the Creativity and Wellbeing Week website:
During the week, Richard works full time as a town planner for a large architectural firm but on the weekend, he’s part of a team making a big difference for patients on the neuro-rehab unit.
Patients can suffer from a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, brain tumours and multiple sclerosis and often have lengthy stays throughout their rehabilitation process.
On Monday to Friday they undergo intensive therapy sessions but on the weekend, boredom can set in, especially for patients with no family members close by. By keeping the patients entertained and stimulating their brains through board games, music and socialising, Patients Activities Volunteers like Richard play a crucial part in the patients’ recovery.
He decided to get involved with the charity after spending three months in the same hospital with a brain injury. “I can empathise with them quite a lot because I was in a very similar situation,” he said.
“I can understand the frustration that some of the patients have on the ward when there isn’t the occupational therapy that would take place during the week or there perhaps aren’t visitations from friends or family.”
“When it came to weekends and evenings I felt that I should not be there basically, I felt completely fit and able. In retrospect, mentally I certainly wasn’t. I tried to escape from hospital on two occasions and got as far as the front door and security. I thought I was fully recovered and that was it, I was fine. I can say in retrospect that wasn’t that case”.
When Richard was discharged, he says he felt immense gratitude to the staff and when he later found out about volunteering opportunities on the same ward, he jumped at the chance.
Having been treated in the hospital before the Patients Activities Volunteers were introduced, Richard is in a unique position to appreciate the difference they make.
“I think I would have found the group activities quite helpful. I’m not a group person but with the brain injury that I had and seeing some of the similar instances of patients that we deal with on a fortnightly basis, I’d like to think that even just talking to the group can help in the long-term.”
“It’s very endearing when you go back and see patients that you saw two weeks ago and can sense a difference in their talkativeness or their willingness to interact within the group, that’s really satisfying.”
If you’d like to get involved or find out more about volunteering with the charity, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/volunteer
Cathy volunteers in the main oncology clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, assisting and welcoming patients to the ward. She became a volunteer after she was offered early retirement and wanted to help her community.
“Charing Cross Hospital is somewhere that’s local to me and I wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “I’ve always been involved with caring of some type or another and I really just wanted to be able to continue to do that.”
“I just love being able to interact with people, to hopefully make things a little bit easier for them when they come in. It can be quite a daunting thing when you’re visiting an oncologist so just by offering them tea and coffee, welcoming them and just being there you can just make it easier for them.”
Cathy has volunteered with the charity for the last eight years and she’s seen first-hand what a difference they make.
“I think they can ease the patient’s journey through the hospital. It’s just being there as a welcome, someone who can break down some of the barriers because hospital visits can be very daunting. We smile and show people that we’re all human, we’re all here for one purpose only and that’s to look after those that need the support and care we can give.”
Cath’s own passion and willingness to help led to her being nominated for a Make a Difference award, which she received earlier in the year. “I feel hugely humbled and very embarrassed,” she said.
Lynda Montgomery, the Clerical Officer who nominated her, said: “She’s an amazing individual. She always walks round with a smile and goes that extra mile. Although Cathy volunteers once a week, her caring presence brings warmth and brightens up our sometimes emotional and stressful oncology clinic. She’s a phenomenal lady with a heart of gold.”
If you’d like to get involved or find out more about volunteering with the charity, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/volunteer
Last year, our art collection was accredited by the Arts Council England, making us the only working hospital with museum status. It was the culmination of a process spanning several years and Stephen, our arts volunteer, was instrumental in it.
Stephen has a long, colourful history with the Trust, first volunteering shortly after the opening of Charing Cross Hospital in 1973. When he retired in 2002, he came back to the hospital and spent 7 years volunteering with the hospital’s radio station. It was through this that he met the charity’s arts team and since 2012 he’s been a treasured volunteer.
Since joining us, Stephen has taken on the mammoth job of cataloguing every piece of art across all five Trust hospitals. For this, he uses Collectrium, a piece of software owned by the auction house Christie's and used by notable collectors to manage their art collections.
“It’s not a trivial task,” said Stephen. “There are more than 2,000 artworks and there are four sites and multiple buildings on every site with multiple floors, so knowing where things are all the time is not easy. It is worthwhile and having that information is a basic requirement for the art collection to become a museum.”
“I think the art collection does affect patients and people have repeatedly said ‘it’s fantastic, it really improves their working environment in very stressful locations, like intensive care units.”
A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment.
Stephen’s significant and varied experience have made him a huge asset to the team: “I have some professional qualifications that enable me to understand some of these things. I have a degree in history and history of art, I have a PHD in computing and the last full time job I had was as the head of the department of computing at City University. Before that I worked as a town planner for a long time in local governments, so I understand about institutions which is always useful.”
“Volunteering is about supporting an organisation you think is valuable and whenever friends have asked what they should do I say ‘well…volunteer!’ The people are great and they’re very motivated and it’s a very valuable thing to do.”
Volunteers like Stephen play a vital role across the Trust. If you’d like to get involved or find out more about volunteering, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/volunteer
Patricia is one of our dedicated volunteers at the Fleming museum in St Mary’s Hospital, where she’s been helping out since 2012.
The museum is home to the laboratory where Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin, one of the most revolutionary breakthroughs in medicine, a fitting place for Patricia to volunteer, given her own relationship with the drug.
“I was given penicillin when I was 3 because I had double pneumonia following measles and if it wasn’t for penicillin I would have died.”
When she left school, she went onto to work for the pharmaceutical company, Beecham, where she worked with the legal team responsible for patenting the drug. However, one of the side effects of being treated with it at such a young age meant she couldn’t stay there for long.
“I was there for about 3 months. There was a leak of penicillin from the factory into the offices and I nearly died because I was allergic to it. I collapsed and couldn’t hear or see, and the doctor said if I wasn’t better by the end of the week I’d have to go into the isolation hospital but of course once I was away from penicillin I improved, but I couldn’t work there.”
She left Beecham to work at the BBC. With no risk of penicillin leaks, her career there spanned 30 years, culminating in a role as a production coordinator in the news and current affairs department.
“At 50 years old I felt I was burned out. It was stressful and there was a lot of dashing around and filming. I didn’t want to go on to 24 hour rolling news where you go in at midnight and leave at noon the next day.”
Patricia took her pension but her time with the BBC didn’t end there and she joined their Volunteer Visiting Scheme, providing companionship to retired BBC staff.
“I visit them because a lot, especially the women, didn’t marry. They were married to the BBC, so they have no family in old age.”
Patricia then decided to volunteer with Imperial Health Charity after her husband sadly passed away.
“My husband was full of life. He went blind in the army and they taught him to be a shorthand typist in the war ministry but he didn’t want to do that for the rest of his life. He knew the bosses were disappointed when they’d call in for a secretary expecting a dolly bird and they got him! He went to the LSE to study and got himself 3 degrees because he knew he had to be better than sighted people. He was a senior lecturer in economics at Hammersmith College for all his working life and he was a great ballroom and Latin dancer and played the piano beautifully. He said if he hadn’t gone blind he wouldn’t have achieved as much as he did”.
“He had a very full life and I’m sure he wouldn’t want me sitting crying at home, he would want me to be doing something. My friend read the ad in the paper and I applied. They asked me if I wanted to work in the museum and I said ‘‘oh not penicillin I’m allergic to it!’”
Despite this initial concern, Patricia loves her time volunteering at the museum. “I look forward to Wednesdays. I love talking, and we have people from all over the world which is so interesting and you get a rapport with them”.
She says she feels fortunate to be able to help at the museum and believes the volunteers make a huge difference around the Trust’s hospitals.
“Long may it continue because they’re getting something out of it as well as giving.”
If you’d like to get involved or find out more about volunteering with the charity, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/volunteer
Rachel is one of our Patients Activities Volunteers. For the last six months, she’s spent part of her weekend in the neurological rehabilitation unit at Charing Cross Hospital.
“As a Patient Activities Volunteer, I visit the ward on weekends, prepared with an activity plan and a few other volunteers,” said Rachel. “We gather the patients together and provide them with entertaining activities to do, e.g. baking, painting, reading.”
Patients in the unit can suffer from a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, brain tumours and multiple sclerosis and often have lengthy stays throughout their rehabilitation process.
They undergo intensive therapy sessions during the week but on the weekend, boredom can set in, especially for patients with no family members close by.
By keeping the patients entertained and stimulating their brains, volunteers like Rachel are playing a crucial part in their recovery.
Rachel heard about the Trust through the Imperial College Volunteering Fair and got in touch about becoming a Patients Activities Volunteer. “The role description suited me perfectly, so I applied to be a part of the team.”
“It is one of the most rewarding volunteer positions I have ever held and we frequently receive gratitude from patients who have tangibly felt better after we have been in to see them, even if just for a quick chat.”
One of Rachel’s most memorable moments was taking a walk with a patient who had trouble expressing her thoughts.
“I spent the time making sure she never gave up on communicating what she was trying to say – she wanted to keep up to date on current affairs and she didn’t like the fruit she had so we got her some newspapers and fresh fruit. When we went back to the hospital afterwards, she held my hand and said thank you really carefully and it was one of the most fulfilling days I've ever had.”
Rachel believes that volunteers are vital to the trust and that while patients benefit hugely, so do the volunteers.
“Getting hospital experience and helping patients relieve boredom on weekends has provided me with a better understanding of the medical profession and has introduced me to like-minded individuals that care and seek to help vulnerable people.”
“Volunteering provides a number of qualities I don't gain doing other activities; genuine insight into other people's lives, new perspectives, empathy, and the experiences and friendships made are invaluable.”
This week is Volunteers’ Week and we’ll be looking more closely at some of our fantastic volunteers and how invaluable their hard work is to patients and staff around the Trust.
From 2016-2017, 224 hardworking people kindly gave their time to volunteer at the Trust, from entertaining patients, accommodating visitors and making sure events run smoothly.
Sam Morris, Head of Volunteering at the charity, said: “Our volunteers give so much to support our hospitals, helping to make life for people in our care just that little bit nicer.”
“Whilst we try to say thank you to our volunteers as often as we can, I always look forward to celebrating Volunteers' Week as we join with thousands of other charities to recognise the millions of incredible volunteers up and down the UK. I am so proud of the volunteers we have supporting Imperial hospitals - they really do make the difference."
Since July 2016 the charity has managed volunteers at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals to improve the experiences and outcomes for patients. We’ve received tremendous feedback from staff, patients and volunteers alike and will work hard to make sure this continues.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life and volunteer for a variety of reasons. Richard Anderson works as a town planner for a large architectural firm but on the weekend, he spends his time on the neurological rehabilitation unit at Charing Cross Hospital as part of a team who keep patients entertained through various activities, playing a crucial part in their recovery.
Richard decided to get involved with the charity after spending 3 months in hospital with a brain injury. “I can empathise with them quite a lot because I was in a very similar situation,” he said.
“I can understand the frustration that some of the patients have on the ward when there isn’t the occupational therapy that would take place during the week or there perhaps aren’t even the visitation they have from friends, family, whoever else.”
“it’s very endearing when you go back and see patients that you saw two weeks ago and can sense a difference in their talkativeness or their willingness to interact within the group, that’s really satisfying.”
Volunteers don’t only help out in a medical capacity either. Patricia Walton has been volunteering in the Fleming Museum at St Mary’s Hospital, providing tours for visitors eager to learn more about Alexander Fleming’s discovery of the antibiotic penicillin. Patricia decided to volunteer with the charity after her husband sadly passed away.
“He had a very full life and I’m sure he wouldn’t want me sitting crying at home, he would want me to be doing something. My friend read the ad in the paper and I applied.
She says she feels fortunate to be able to help at the museum and believes the volunteers make a huge difference around the Trust’s hospitals.
“Long may it continue because they’re getting something out of it as well as giving.”
Volunteers at the Trust are regularly honoured through the Make a Difference award scheme, recognising hard work, dedication and achievements of those individuals that go out of their way to exceed expectations. A summer boat party will also be held next week for all volunteers to celebrate the difference they make throughout the Trust’s hospitals.
If you’d like to get involved or find out more, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/volunteer