Sweet dreams are made of this

THIS week The Comet launches its anual charity appeal – to raise money for specialist beds and chairs for Sue Ryder Care. Two years ago a Sweet Dreams Appeal was launched to fund new specialist beds for residents at the Sue Ryder Care home at Stagenhoe Pa

THIS week The Comet launches its anual charity appeal - to raise money for specialist beds and chairs for Sue Ryder Care.

Two years ago a Sweet Dreams Appeal was launched to fund new specialist beds for residents at the Sue Ryder Care home at Stagenhoe Park and, thanks to the generosity of the public, has acquired eight new beds to date.

The centre needs 38 more replacements, as well as specialist care chairs. The beds can cost up to £2,500 each and a chair can cost up to £3,000.

The Comet's aim over the next 12 months is to help raise cash for as many beds and chairs as possible in order to make the lives of residents at Stagenhoe as comfortable as possible.

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Sue Ryder Care at Stagenhoe specialises in the care of people with neurological conditions providing long term and respite care for adults.

It is one of the nine neurological care centres in the Sue Ryder Care charity and to sustain its operation the centre needs to generate around £2.6 million per annum.

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Neurological conditions include Huntington's disease, MS, stroke, Parkinson's disease and brain injury.

There are 46 beds available for clients referred to the centre, including opportunities for respite care and clients may stay at the centre for one or two weeks at a time, to provide valuable care and support, both to the clients and the family carers.

The service users at Stagenhoe, most of whom are affected by degenerative neurological disease, have a range of care needs that often require specialist equipment to help make their lives more pleasant and comfortable.

Clients referred for on-going care and support will remain residential at the centre which will provide nursing and care support for as long as it is required.

Potential service users are referred via health care (PCT) or through local authorities Social Services - often on recommendation from local health care professionals and social workers.

The new beds are evaluated with a client's particular needs in mind. For example:

l A tall person will require a longer length bed.

l Clients with mobility problems because they may not be able to move around in bed without assistance, will need a flexible framed bed that allows appropriate positioning (tilting/lowering/elevating) for comfort and treatment.

l Clients who have other illnesses or who are particularly frail will require special mattresses and other aids to keep them comfortable and help prevent complications from being in bed for long periods of time.

l Beds need to meet health and safety requirements for safe moving and handling to minimise the risk to carers when working.

Beds of this type, with all the specific requirements and attachments cost in the region of £700 to £2,500 each

The Sweet Dreams Appeal also included the provision of specialist care chairs to enable clients who have particular posture and mobility problems to be up and out of bed during the day and able to make choices about their environment within the centre and join in socialising activities such as meal times and recreational therapies.

Care chairs of this type are provided by specialist manufacturers and are usually designed with a specific client in mind so the costs are higher than a standard easy chair and range, depending on the specification for the client, from £800 to £3,000.

Stagenhoe centre manager Fran Short said: "We are so pleased that The Comet has chosen Sue Ryder Care as it's Charity of the Year 2007. By enabling us to buy this very specialist equipment, we can truly make a difference to the quality of life for our residents at Stagenhoe."

The charity's area fundraising manager Barbara Burnett said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for the Fundraising team to highlight the valuable work of Sue Ryder Care and encourage support and volunteering from local businesses, community groups and individuals who want to help us make a difference."

Making a difference

BY adopting Sue Ryder Care as this year's charity The Comet hopes to improve the quality of life of the residents and those receiving respite care at Stagenhoe Park.

So if you feel you can help by holding or taking part in an event to raise cash just let us know.

Call the newsdesk on 01438 866200 or email editorial@thecomet.net


# Lady Ryder acquired Stagenhoe (previously a family home, maternity hospital and a boys' school) in the 1960s and the care centre opened in 1969.

# In addition, the charity supports six palliative care centres and homecare services, with operations extending across the United Kingdom.

# The charity is supported through the work of the retail team with over 400 high street shops operating nationwide.

# Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, including the brain, spinal chord, peripheral nerves and muscles.

# Sue Ryder Care provides specialised neurological care services including residential care, respite care, day care, domiciliary care, homecare, sheltered housing and community re-integration.

# 10 million people in the UK have a neurological condition (2005 figures).

# Staff at the care home deliver a person-centred service that aims to meet the needs of those they care for, enabling them to live the lives they want, with the support they need as their conditions progress.

# Sue Ryder Care offers specialised care to people with complex illnesses and conditions including (but not exclusively):

# Multiple sclerosis

# Stroke

# Parkinson's disease

# Huntington's disease

# Brain injury

# Sue Ryder Care provides expert care where people need it, maximising and supporting their choices and independence.

# Sue Ryder Care is dedicated to helping the people it cares for to get the best from life.

# The charity's care concept is to care for the whole of an individual's needs, be they social, psychological, physical or spiritual. It also offers support to their families.

# During 2006 Sue Ryder Care

# provided long-term neurological care for over 400 people in its care centres nationwide;

# cared for 3,750 people through its neurological day services;

# provided 5,500 hospice day care attendances;

# provided 1,800 episodes of in-patient care in our hospices;

# carried out 12,000 hours of home care each week, equating to nearly 1,250,000 homecare visits.

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