Spindogs

HJ Heroes – How Rookwood SpUR is continuing to support spinal injury patients during lockdown

By Kathryn Jones – Rookwood Spur Trustee

Rookwood SpUR Charitable Trust is a small charity set up to improve the quality of life for the inpatients of the Welsh Spinal Cord Injuries Rehabilitation Centre at Rookwood Hospital. The trustees are volunteers and include current staff (of which I’m one), former staff, former patients and friends with useful skills.

Rookwood SpUR has funded the provision of a range of facilities for patients and their families. As patients come from all over south, west & parts of mid-Wales their families and friends often have long journeys to visit them, so SpUR has provided the SpUR Room & kitchen so that visiting times can be spent on comfy settees or having a meal together around a table, particularly important when they have young children. Because visitors may not be able to visit very often due to the distance, SpUR has provided laundry facilities so that patients can do their own laundry - this also encourages independence. There are also two gardens adjacent to the wards and SpUR provides funding for garden materials. Patients are often involved in planting these during their occupational therapy sessions. SpUR has also provided each bed space with a TV on swing-away mount and a wardrobe. Patients spend many months participating in rehabilitation so the small locker doesn’t provide enough space for belongings. Rehabilitation equipment has also been bought for the Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy Departments.

SpUR usually organises monthly events which include fundraising events but also evenings for patients, their families & friends. These range from pizza and quiz nights or musical evenings in the hospital, to trips out to the theatre, fish & chips at Barry Island or a BBQ at a pub. These events encourage patients to begin their reintegration into the outside world following their spinal cord injury. 

In order to shield the patients from COVID-19, the wards were closed to all visitors before the rest of the hospital sites did so. Of course, this has meant that all the events planned for them have had to be cancelled. More importantly for patients, their families have been unable to visit them. During lockdown patients have celebrated 40th, 50th & 60th birthdays. SpUR has supported these remotely by funding birthday cake and pizzas. Patients have said that their birthday celebrations were better than they’d expected them to be. 

Patients have also said that “the gardens have been a godsend”. With more time on their hands they have been enjoying the plants as they flower and the birds that visit. They recently asked SpUR to purchase a birdbath which has just arrived. 

During lockdown SpUR is unable to plan major fundraising events. Supporters have previously run the Cardiff 10k, completed Ironman challenges, held concerts and coffee mornings or participated in other fundraising activities, all of which are cancelled for the foreseeable future. 

We are lucky that the fantastic support in the past has meant that SpUR is able to fund the items the patients and staff are requesting now to raise spirits. In order to continue to do so, people can donate by text by texting ‘spur00’ plus the donated amount to 70070. For example if you want to donate £5 it would be ‘spur00£5’ to 70070.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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