A new fundraising appeal has launched at the Royal United Hospital in Bath to coincide with national Swallowing Awareness Day.
The hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal wants to raise £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties.
By funding this piece of kit it will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the x-ray clinic which can sometimes be several weeks and is the only option at present.
Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said: “Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted.
“But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
“It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.
“This is why we are delighted to have the support from our charity on Swallowing Awareness Day – giving us the perfect platform to talk about this issue and the opportunity to promote this appeal.
“Having this machine will be a game-changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”
Only a small number of hospital trusts have this type of portable machine which uses fibreoptic technology to help the Speech and Language Therapist assess a patient’s mouth, throat and swallow.
Once the machine is purchased, the speech and language therapy team will look to roll the service out to assess patients across the hospital.
Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “This appeal is an opportunity to give patients with swallowing difficulties the highest standard of care and ultimately help improve their quality of life.
“We are inviting the public to show their support by helping us raise the amount needed so we can make a real difference to our patients.”
There are many ways that people can get involved and show their support for this appeal – from making a donation online, taking part in one of the charity’s events, fundraising at work or in your local community or by leaving a gift in your will.
For more information about the speech and language therapy special appeal visit: www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk.