The friends working to improve Danetre Hospital

Donating quilts to brighten up the wards
Donating quilts to brighten up the wards

Working quietly largely behind the scenes, is a team who try to ensure patients and staff at Daventry’s hospital have the top equipment.

The Friends of Danetre Hospital use money given to them by the people of the Daventry area to buy medical equipment, physiotherapy kit, furniture, office equipment and more – all for use in Danetre Hospital.

The Friends donating an ECG machine

The Friends donating an ECG machine

Items range from simple tea cosies and buckets, to high-tech beds, electrocardiogram (ECG) machines and specialist chairs.

The aim is to provide the very best experience for patients, so there are obvious things like art for the walls, chairs and TVs, but then there are special beds to prevent sores ,bath hoists, and ECG machines. There are simple purchases, like a toaster for a staff room to improve morale, or a cordless phone so nurses do not have to keep running to a desk, which help the staff focus more of their time and efforts on the patients. And there are hidden purchases – study days, course fees, books and leaflets – to educate staff and patients.

In the last three and a half years alone the Friends have spent £109,470.

In the palliative care department Maria Pasicznuk said: “We’ve benefited a lot from contributions from the Friends with training and equipment. For instance they paid for bed tables – the ones on wheels you can pull over you in bed. They sound simple but they make a real difference to someone who is stuck in bed. We’re extremely grateful. It allows us to do our jobs better and support our patients and their families.”

Danetre Hospital has a physiotherapy and occupational therapy department. The team helps patients overcome injuries or problems that effect their movement.

Cathie Thomas, therapy practitioner, said: “We have a kitchen here that is set up to see how patients cope when they go home. The Friends buy us items like knife and forks or different cups designed for people with arthritis so we can use them here to see if they help, rather than just seeing how patients manage with regular ones. It’s little things but it really does make a lot of difference. These are people who might think they can’t do certain things on their own or in their own house, but they come here and we can often help.”

Ward matron Sue Lee said: “We have things like Nimbus mattresses which help prevent pressure sores. They also help the staff because it’s easier to move the patient on the bed. We might get a special mattress or two from the NHS but the Friends help us get the better version, the next step or two up, that the NHS wouldn’t necessarily fund. They’ve bought equipment for the nurses to help them work with fewer distractions, new furniture for the patients, and the rooms families use.

“In one case we found a ward had a rather unpleasant smell because of the illnesses and symptoms some of the patients there had, on top of the normal hospital smell. So the Friends provided special aroma air fresheners. It might seem trivial but imagine the difference that makes to people on that ward.

“It all means we can give the patients the best quality care, but also for the staff it means they can provide care without having to beg steal or borrow equipment from elsewhere. The patients get a bettre experience.”

Items like quilts, teapots and cosies, TVs and fans for beds, all make a stay in the hospital as comfortable as possible for patients. While things like toasters, microwaves, radios and phones all help the staff by improving their working environment, and lowering stress.

Anita Reeves, senior matron for community hospital beds, said: “We know we should be able to say the NHS provides everything, but they provide a certain standard of bed, a certain number of pieces of equipment. With the Friends we can offer something more, – that little bit extra comfort, being able to do things faster. And that all helps the staff too because we don’t have to think about how to provide that level of care because it’s already here.

“We are just so lucky here at Danetre that we can go to the Friends and ask for the things we need.”

Arthur Pritchet from the Friends said: “The support we get from people is amazing.

“A lot of the money we receive comes from patients or their families that have been to Danetre Hospital and have benefited from the things we have already provided.”