County Durham and Darlington – Specialist rehabilitation chair donated to support critical care recovery

A grateful patient who “owes so much” to the teams who cared for
him, has through The Teesside Family Foundation, donated a £12,000
specialist rehabilitation aid to Darlington Memorial Hospital
critical care unit.

This piece of equipment is life changing in the rehabilitation
of patients with severe muscle weakness as a result of critical
illness, neurological disease, major trauma, spinal injuries and
acute stroke.

Staff and patient with chair

Michael Poole from Whinney Hill, Stockton-on Tees, came into
Darlington Memorial Hospital on December 10, 2021 and was cared for
on the Intensive Care Unit and by the Rehabilitation after Critical
Illness (RaCI) South team. He was discharged in April 2022 and
continues to receive support from the RaCI team and others within
Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Speaking about the generous donation, Mr Poole said: “After
spending such a long time in ITU I can really see the benefit of
the equipment The Teesside Family Foundation were able to donate to
the unit.

“From my own personal experience, I know just how difficult it
can be for a patient to recover from critical illness. The team in
ITU saved my life and that can’t be expressed in monetary terms – I
owe them so much, so am really pleased to be able to help in some
way. I can’t speak highly enough about the NHS.”

The chair aids early rehabilitation and enhances patient
experience following devastating illnesses and trauma.

It allows early repositioning including weight bearing on legs
of patients who would otherwise not be ready or able to transfer to
a traditional chair. It has a lateral tilt facility which
benefits respiratory physio with early upright positioning this can
also aid swallow recovery and a sense of normality for

Using this chair will help to reduce the shock to the system of
patients trying to sit up when they have been nursed in bed for a
long period of time.

Rehab chair

Emma Bland Physiotherapist and Rehabilitation After Critical
Illness Co-ordinator said: “Not only is this an extremely generous
donation, but it is meaningful because it comes from someone who
understands the value it adds to critical care recovery and how it
would have benefitted his recovery.

“Colleagues who used the chair when we had one on loan feel it
could reduce length of stay and improve overall recovery and
therefore quality of life.”

Pat Chambers, Charity Development Manager added: “We are
delighted to receive this generous donation of this specialist
rehab chair which will help enhance patient care. We do rely on
community support to enable us to help our patients across County
Durham and Darlington and you can help support our charitable work
as your NHS Charity with a text donation. Simply text YOURNHS to
70480 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message,
or perhaps by organising a fundraiser, please contact the team on
01325 743781 or email”

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