How Brighter Futures helps Trust go the extra mile

Posted: June 14, 2016

How our charity helps patients and visitors

brighter futures logo 200In honour of Small Charity Week (13-18 June) Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating the work of its very own small charity, Brighter Futures, in helping to make a real difference to patients, their families, and to the staff who treat them.

While its big focus is the Radiotherapy Appeal, what's less known is how Brighter Futures' work helps the Trust provide state-of-the-art equipment, pilot new initiatives, fund ground-breaking research and support the training and development of its staff.

The charity's aim is to go above and beyond what the NHS budget is able to provide, helping the Trust to achieve the added extras which mean so much to both patients and staff. 

Creating a dementia friendly ward  

Elderly care ward, Jupiter, was transformed into a specialist dementia friendly ward thanks to a £98,000 ward redesign funded by Brighter Futures.

The new ward, which opened in November 2014, was transformed using the principles of Kings Fund research into dementia friendly design and international best practice in dementia care. A number of discreet adaptions were made to the ward aiming to reduce anxiety, improve confidence and support a speedier recovery. It was also given a more homely feel with a lounge area for patients and visitors.

Wendy Johnson, Matron Lead for Dementia, said: "Anybody who goes to Jupiter Ward now remarks how calm it is and how it has a completely different atmosphere. It's delightful seeing patients in the social space enjoying a cup of tea with their families." 

Tackling sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition where the body's immune system goes into overdrive, usually following an infection or injury. There are around 150,000 cases of sepsis in the UK every year and it claims 44,000 lives.

As part of the Trust's work in tackling sepsis, Brighter Futures funded a dedicated Sepsis Nurse to help staff identify and treat patients with sepsis as quickly as possible. Eighty per cent of sepsis patients at Great Western Hospital now survive, which is significantly better than the national average of 65 per cent.

Specialist Sepsis Nurse Nic Lythell said: "Sepsis can take hold incredibly quickly and, if it's not treated rapidly, can prove fatal. The fact that more and more patients are surviving is a testament to the vital work that has been going on in recent years."

The work on sepsis now forms part of 500 Lives, the Trust's vision to save an extra 500 lives over the next five years.

Bringing sensory equipment to poorly children

Brighter Futures gave a £9,000 grant to the Children's Unit at Great Western Hospital for specialist sensory equipment, designed to help children who have restricted mobility or who are unable to leave their beds.

The ward now boasts a Sensory Voyager with bubble column, fibre optic lights and light projector and a sensory train with mirrorball and infinity tunnel.

All children on the ward can benefit from the lights, sounds and stimuli as the equipment can be wheeled to their bedside.

Claire Parks, Senior Play Specialist, said: "The sensory equipment is amazing and we use it all the time. I have seen children smile and laugh for the first time during their stay and parents overwhelmed by the excitement in their child's eyes." 

Supporting the local community

Jennifer Green, Head of Fundraising for Brighter Futures, said: "Our vision is to support the provision of the best care possible to our patients, their families and visitors to the Trust.

"We know all too well the financial constraints of the NHS and the challenges it faces in keeping up with ever increasing demands.

"Our charity enables us to go the extra mile and support the delivery of outstanding care. This would not be possible without generous donors and we very much appreciate their continued support."

Brighter Futures celebrated its first anniversary of its Radiotherapy Appeal on 28 May and has raised £2,000 every day since the appeal was launched.

The £2.9 million appeal will fund the equipment that will be at the heart of a new Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust radiotherapy unit on the Great Western Hospital site.

Find out more about the work of Brighter Futures, and how you can support the charity, on their website

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