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Specialist rehabilitation chair donated to support critical care recovery

Staff and patient with chair

A grateful patient who "owes so much" to the teams who cared for him, has through The Teesside Family Foundation, donated a £12,000 specialist rehabilitation aid to Darlington Memorial Hospital critical care unit.

This piece of equipment is life changing in the rehabilitation of patients with severe muscle weakness as a result of critical illness, neurological disease, major trauma, spinal injuries and acute stroke.

Staff and patient with chair

Michael Poole from Whinney Hill, Stockton-on Tees, came into Darlington Memorial Hospital on December 10, 2021 and was cared for on the Intensive Care Unit and by the Rehabilitation after Critical Illness (RaCI) South team. He was discharged in April 2022 and continues to receive support from the RaCI team and others within Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Speaking about the generous donation, Mr Poole said: "After spending such a long time in ITU I can really see the benefit of the equipment The Teesside Family Foundation were able to donate to the unit.

"From my own personal experience, I know just how difficult it can be for a patient to recover from critical illness. The team in ITU saved my life and that can't be expressed in monetary terms - I owe them so much, so am really pleased to be able to help in some way. I can't speak highly enough about the NHS."

The chair aids early rehabilitation and enhances patient experience following devastating illnesses and trauma.

It allows early repositioning including weight bearing on legs of patients who would otherwise not be ready or able to transfer to a traditional chair. It has a lateral tilt facility which benefits respiratory physio with early upright positioning this can also aid swallow recovery and a sense of normality for patients.

Using this chair will help to reduce the shock to the system of patients trying to sit up when they have been nursed in bed for a long period of time.

Rehab chair

Emma Bland Physiotherapist and Rehabilitation After Critical Illness Co-ordinator said: "Not only is this an extremely generous donation, but it is meaningful because it comes from someone who understands the value it adds to critical care recovery and how it would have benefitted his recovery.

"Colleagues who used the chair when we had one on loan feel it could reduce length of stay and improve overall recovery and therefore quality of life."

Pat Chambers, Charity Development Manager added: "We are delighted to receive this generous donation of this specialist rehab chair which will help enhance patient care. We do rely on community support to enable us to help our patients across County Durham and Darlington and you can help support our charitable work as your NHS Charity with a text donation. Simply text YOURNHS to 70480 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message, or perhaps by organising a fundraiser, please contact the team on 01325 743781 or email"

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham