New high-tech chair will speed up St Richard’s patients’ recovery time

St Richard's ITU staff, with Masons' Gary Sharp and Tim Smith and Jane Ramage, Friends chairman
St Richard's ITU staff, with Masons' Gary Sharp and Tim Smith and Jane Ramage, Friends chairman

Critically ill patients at St Richard’s Hospital will now be able to start their recovery more quickly.

That is after two organisations combined to fund and donate a high-tech adjustable chair to help extremely ill patients at the Chichester hospital to mobilise early in their recovery.

Charity the Friends of Chichester Hospitals worked with the local Masonic Lodge of Union No.38 to donate the £13,575 ‘combilizer’ chair to the intensive care ward.

ITU staff are said to be thrilled with sophisticated new aid, which enables a patient to regain confidence, sense of balance, and awareness of what is going on around them.

The chair can be converted from a flat bed to a chair with variable angles, or raise a patient safely to a standing position while fully supported by a harness and a variety of lateral supports.

Friends’ chairman Jane Ramage thanked Gary Sharp and Tim Smith, who attended the handover last month on behalf of the Lodge, for their generous £10,000 support for this important innovation.

Mrs Ramage said: “As a small local charity, the Friends value the support of other local organisations immensely, and we are sure the combilizer will make a real difference for patients and the staff who care for them when critical illness strikes.

“Medical equipment is increasingly expensive, so this contribution is very much appreciated.

“This is a really exciting piece of equipment, we even had to wait for delivery because it’s in high demand, so innovative and makes such a difference for patients who become detached from their surroundings if left lying flat for days because they can’t be safely helped to a more upright position.”

Because the chair is equipped to take ventilation and drug delivery apparatus, a patient can be taken out of the ITU safely, and experience a more normal environment, making the transition to a regular ward easier and quicker.

Clinical specialist respiratory physiotherapist Debs Dykes and her ITU colleagues are said to be delighted with the technically advanced aid for their patients, especially with the difference it can make to the speed of recovery and earlier discharge from hospital.

Gary Sharp from the Masons said: “The Lodge of Union is a supporter of the Friends of Chichester Hospitals and other local charities and are delighted to continue to do so.”