Hospital appeal reaches £25,000 after year of fundraising - but more is needed to help frail and elderly patients

An elderly patient uses the dementia software at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. The softwa

An elderly patient uses the dementia software at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. The software is part of the equipment which money from the bingo night will help pay for. Picture: Matthew Usher.

New dementia software and specialist chairs have been put in place to help frail and elderly patients following a year of fundraising at a hospital.

As the Excel Appeal celebrates its first anniversary, this month also marks the point when the campaign reached halfway in its fundraisaing target.

The appeal was launched by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, on October 31 last year in partnership with the EDP – with the aim of raising £50,000 to buy specialist care equipment for elderly patients.

And 12 months on staff, patients, community groups and businesses have got behind the campaign and collectively raised £25,000.

This has enabled the hospital to buy My Life software and reclining chairs – both of which are aimed to help patients recover faster and enjoy more comfort during their stay on the wards.

But more such equipment is needed to ensure every patient who needs to use it can do so, and the hospital is also hoping money raised can help it buy falls prevention kits that would reduce the number of falls patients have on wards.

Therefore the hospital's fundraising executive Laurence Morlaàs is urging more people to get involved in the fundraising campaign, adding that the appeal is even more important because there are few other charities that support elderly people.

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'In health there are some very popular causes such as campaigns for babies, young children and cancer, but the frail and elderly do not even make the pecking order,' Ms Morlaàs said.

'I hoped we would have raised more in one year and the fact it is taking time reflects that point.'

She said part of the reason fundraising for the elderly is difficult is because people want to see a return for what they give, which is easier to achieve if one donates to causes involving babies or young children.

'It's not very glamorous to be old and frail,' Ms Morlaàs said.

'And giving to the frail and elderly is less attractive because the person may die. But that is exactly why it is so important to support the frail and elderly.

Ms Morlaàs belives many people have a psychological barrier that stops them from thinking too much about fundraising for the frail and elderly because it makes them think about their own mortality.

'I don't think people want to think about that,' Ms Morlaàs said.

'But with this equipment it can make a huge difference to a frail or elderly patient, and that could be your parent or grandparent.

'I would urge the community to think about helping the frail and elderly, who are not a group for which many people fundraise,' she said.

What is the appeal?

By raising £50,000 the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be able to buy three types of specialist equipment which would vastly improve the care of elderly patients.

They are:

A falls prevention kit which has been clinically proven to help reduce the number of patient falls by alerting staff to patients who may be at risk.

Dementia computer software called My Life which gives patients and families the chance to create virtual scrapbooks filled with memories and pictures to help stimulate and support people with dementia.

Specialist chairs which can be adjusted to a patient's needs and provide a far more relaxing day-to-day experience in hospital.

With the number of elderly patients increasing at the hospital, it is hoped these specialist pieces of equipment will ensure they get the best care available from the NHS to make their recovery as speedy as possible.

To donate to the appeal visit, or fill in the coupon, or pay by cheque: payable to 'Excel Appeal' and send to Laurence Morlaàs, fundraising executive, QEH, Gayton Road, King's Lynn PE30 4ET.

The appeal so far

A number of individuals and businesses have got behind the campaign and raised money for the cause in their own ways.

These include:

Malcolm Duffey, of Pockthorpe, raised £737 by doing a sponsored slim. During the five months he lost more than a stone (7.7kg).

Sabrina Barrow, of Wormegay, and Robin Rye, of Blackborough End, raised £550 after completing a sponsored bicycle ride.

The Searles Resort Golf and Country Club, based in Hunstanton, donated £4,000 after choosing to make the appeal its chosen local charity.

International firm GCL Building Technologies bought one My Life dementia software pack for the hospital.

Millsopps Estate Agents in King's Lynn is hoping to raise £1,200 through a scheme for NHS workers who use the business.

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