For patients with a spinal cord injury at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) community reintegration is a key part of their rehabilitation – this has just been made easier thanks to the support of charitable funds.
The League of Friends and RJAH Charity have jointly funded the purchase of a new wheelchair accessible vehicle, which cost in excess of £37,000, for the benefit of spinal injury patients at the Oswestry-based hospital.
Benefits of access to a wheelchair accessible vehicle include staff transporting patients with an improved quality of journey to and from their home, work, and school. These visits are required to ensure the safe and good quality discharge from hospital to home after a life changing spinal cord injury.
Julie Smith, Therapy Team Lead, said: “As many of our patients are wheelchair users, getting in and out of a car can be difficult. Use of a wheelchair accessible vehicle allows patients to be transported safely and comfortably, visiting home or going on social trips during their long inpatient stays.
“Without access to a vehicle of this kind, many of our patients would miss out on aspects of the patient journey which enable us to provide a good quality rehabilitation program, as well as a safe and successful transition from hospital to home.
“We are extremely grateful to the League of Friends and RJAH Charity for the generous donation which has allowed us to purchase this vehicle – it will continue to benefit patients for many years to come.”
As part of the rehabilitation programme, integration back into the community is encouraged prior to discharge home – this may include trips to local shopping centres, garden centres or to sporting venues, where wheelchair sports activities can be trialled.
Victoria Sugden, Charity Director, said: “Giving patients the opportunity to get out and about when they feel able is vital following a spinal injury.
“It is fantastic that charitable funds are able to purchase this vehicle and we are incredibly grateful to every one of our amazing fundraisers and donors who have helped support us to do so.”
A number of patients have already used the wheelchair accessible vehicle to take trips outside of the hospital – including paediatric patient Riley Jarvis.
Stacey Keegan, Chief Executive, said: “It was great to meet Riley and his dad, Rhys. I know Riley has already enjoyed a trip out in our adapted car, which he tells me was good fun – really lovely to hear!”
Harry Turner, Chair at RJAH, said: “It’s wonderful to see two of our hospital charities working in collaboration for the benefit of patients – we are extremely appreciative to both charities for their invaluable support.”
Pictured from left to right is Victoria Sugden, Charity Director; Julie Smith, Spinal Therapy Lead; Louisa Lindsay-Jones, Occupational Therapist; patient Riley Jarvis and his dad Rhys; Stacey Keegan, Chief Executive; and Harry Turner, Chair; with the new vehicle.