Deb Hunt, trustee and retired physiotherapist, wrote this report after her recent visit to BCH with Pam Parker, volunteer and children’s palliative physiotherapist.
‘Our second visit to BCH was a short one – two days only. The programme was focused on reviewing the progress of children on the project and seating. Two new chairs, supplied by Friends of BCH following a successful fundraising campaign, had arrived just before we did. We also took over with us four switch toys. These are battery-operated action toys fitted with special pads which, when pressed, activate them. They are excellent for children with special needs whose manual skills are limited.
Over the three months since our first visit, we have had regular updates from the team and discussions via Skype and email.
We were delighted to hear that all the children have made small gains following intensive physiotherapy treatment. For example, one little girl can now roll over from her back onto her side independently. One of the little boys can now hold up his head for a period of two minutes. These may seem insignificant achievements but, for these children with complex and life-limiting disabilities, such small steps will all help improve their physical function. It is a very slow process, and many of the children will not make massive gains. However, they do have potential to improve in meaningful ways. Ultimately our aim is to improve their quality of life so they and their families can have some fun, as all children should.
The second important aim of this trip was to introduce adjustable chairs to the hospice. Having access to good seating has massive benefits for these children who may otherwise lie on a sofa looking up at the ceiling or must be carried around by their parents much of the time. Sitting properly helps reinforce their therapy, as well as improving breathing and digestion. The children can also engage with the world around them, play with a toy and be part of the family. Watch this video and you will see what I mean! The little boy in the film had never sat properly before. Previously, he became distressed if placed in a normal child’s chair which meant his Mum had to carry him around with her all the time.
All in all, Pam and I had a worthwhile few days, achieving all we had hoped for. As always the staff were most welcoming and enthusiastic. We are looking forward to our next visit in October!’
Friends of BCH has an ongoing fundraising campaign for more life changing and much needed specialist chairs as seen in the video. If you would like to make a donation please use the big pink button above.
Read about Deb and Pam's first visit to BCH here.