We are pleased to announce we have ordered the first pieces of equipment for our Brain Cancer Equipment Bank, thanks to the generous donors who supported our Christmas campaign.
Our brain cancer patients will soon have access to several new pieces of equipment, including bed wedges to keep patients upright in bed, a Stair-Trac to help get wheelchairs up stairs and two Carendo chairs, mobile units that allow patients to be undressed, showered or go to the toilet without having to be lifted by a carer. It reduces the load carers have to carry, saves time and makes hygiene routines safer, more comfortable and dignified for the patient.
Neuro-Oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant Emma Daly explains that every piece of equipment purchased with the proceeds of the appeal aims to keep patients at home for as long as possible.
“People want life to be as normal and humane as before – people want to be themselves,” she explains.
“They need to have their own identity within their space. You can strip people of their personal identity by the way you treat them and the things you put around them.
“That’s what we don’t want to do, we want people to be able to be as free to live their lives as normally as they can, despite the impact their illness is having on them and their relationships with the people around them.”
The Stair-Trac we have purchased was originally purchased by a patient who lived alone and upstairs and didn’t want to lose access to her apartment when she suffered from paralysis and had to use a wheelchair.
She only used the Stair-Trac around 10 times before she improved so much clinically she had no use for it. She is now in residential care and is selling it to Cabrini at minimal cost in order to help other patients remain at home if their residence is accessible only by stairs.
“We want to enable people to be where they want to be and with the Stair-Trac, we’re overcoming physical barriers to people being in their own environments, where physical limitations prevent them being able to walk themselves,” says Emma Daly.
In addition to two bed wedges to keep patients upright as required when in bed, the other purchase is two Carendo chairs for a total of $22,000.
The multi-purpose hygiene chairs allow the patient to be undressed, showered or go to the toilet without being lifted, giving them more flexibility and dignity. It also makes these activities safer for carers.
Donations from the Love, Courage, Hope Foundation were recently also used to purchase four beds for our brain cancer patients.
A pair of the beds is used to create a large, king-sized unit so that patients can stay at home in a bed with hospital features, but still have their partner sleeping next to them.
“Something that’s really significant about the beds, is that people can remain in the bed with their partners,” explains Emma Daly.
“One of them is going into a woman’s house who is refusing to have a hospital bed because aesthetically it’s not nice. But she’s also got a brain injury, so she’s not making rational decisions. So it creates enormous stress for carers and if we can remove those stressors by putting in a bed that looks nice, why wouldn’t we?
Once a single hospital bed is put in a home, a lot of patients’ partners find somewhere else to sleep or some people sleep on the floor or some people buy or find a small, child’s bed and put it in the room.
“They can’t have their partner next to them when they sleep. But with these beds they can sleep together, they have their partner next to them and it’s not intrusive like a hospital bed, but it has all the features of a hospital bed,” says Emma.
Her next specialised purchase for the equipment bank will be wheelchairs.
“I was talking to one of the occupational therapists and we have basic wheelchairs for transport, but we need wheelchairs that are more comfortable and modified for particular disabilities, she explained.
“And some other smaller items like bed tables that tilt, rather than a standard table, so you don’t have to get patients out of bed to feed them. We want things that enable people to live as normally as they can.”
Thank you to everyone who donated to our Christmas Appeal. To read about our current appeals, please click here.