Thanks to your donations, specialist furniture has been purchased to make the ward environment safer and more comfortable for patients with respiratory conditions at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Over £24,000 of funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity has secured specialist chairs, bedside lockers, and over-bed tables for Ward J12 at St James’s University Hospital.

Respiratory patients cared for on the ward are often affected by persistent breathlessness and reduced mobility, which can lead to them remaining in the same position for long periods. This puts them at a very high risk of pressure ulcer development.

The old ward furniture – particularly the chairs – had become dated and tired, making them unfit for purpose. The lack of suitable chairs led to patients being reluctant to get out of bed which compromised their recovery.

The brand-new bedside chairs feature special pressure-relieving gel cushions which will greatly improve patient's skin care and reduce pressure ulcer development.

In addition to new chairs, bedside cabinets with a 'Digi lock' system will benefit patients who have been assessed by the Pharmacist as being able to safely administer their own medication. This means medication can be delivered in a timely manner and promotes patient independence. This also reduces the workload for staff who can complete medicines administration more efficiently for the remaining patients.

Ward manager Joanna Aftowicz said: “We look after a large group of patients who are quite dependent, so they often stay here for a long time.

With respiratory patients, they are often in one position for a very long time and sitting up is the best position for them to breathe easily.

We just want to make a difference for patients in how they experience the ward. The chairs have a specialised cushion so we can treat patients with a high risk of pressure damage.

Another factor is that the chairs help reduce the wait for patients needing physiotherapy. Without the specialist equipment, the patients were staying in bed longer meaning we were unable to start the treatment.

The chairs really make a massive difference.”

Patient Karen Bailey was one of the patients requiring physiotherapy and was one of the first to use the new chairs on the ward. She was delighted with her treatment: “The staff have been wonderful with me and made staying here really home-like. They get me up to do my physio every day and encourage me to move between my chair and bed, so I’m not just sat in one place. Everyone has been great.”