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We are raising £50,000 to purchase a piece of equipment that will significantly enhance the health and wellbeing of some of our/the hospital’s most vulnerable patients.

Being able to eat or drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But many people can develop swallowing difficulties as a result of conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, respiratory conditions and head and neck cancer. Patients may experience coughing and/or choking when eating or drinking as well as getting food get stuck in their throat. This condition can be life threatening as patients are at risk of developing chest infections. It can also result in weight-loss, malnutrition, dehydration and cause anxiety around eating and drinking.

Our Current Service

The Speech and Language team at the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) are responsible for providing assessments for these patients, as well as giving them support, information and advice. Currently they can only assess a patient’s swallowing by arranging a videofluroscopy (swallowing x-ray) appointment. In order to attend this weekly clinic in the radiography department, patients must be well enough and be able to sit up.  While they wait for the clinic patients are unable to eat or drink and will need to have a feeding tube inserted, which can be a painful procedure.

Why we need your help

We have an exciting opportunity for our Speech and Language Therapists to enhance the care given to patients with swallowing difficulties. A specialist has joined the team who is experienced in using a portable machine which uses fiberoptic technology to assess a patient. The procedure is known as Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). With the help of a tiny camera the therapist is able to view the mouth and throat and evaluate whether food or liquid is escaping into the patient’s airway.

By purchasing a portable FEES machine, our therapists would be able assess their patients without delay at their bedside. This would remove the need to send them for an x-ray and have a feeding tube. Patients’ wellbeing would improve and our therapists would be able to recommend appropriate treatment straight away.

The FEES machine is currently only available at a small number of trusts. Our Speech and Language Therapy team would like to roll out this service throughout the hospital to ensure that patients receive the highest standard of care by offering an alternative to the swallowing x-ray and eliminating the waiting period between clinics.

How you can get involved and support this Special Appeal

There are many ways people can support The Forever Friends Appeal:

Make a donation online today
Take part in one of our fundraising events and pledge your sponsorship to this this Special Appeal
Fundraise at your place of work
Join one of our Community Fundraising Groups or set one up
Leave a gift in your Will

For further information about the the Speech and Language Therapy Special Appeal or our current priorities please get in touch on 01225 825691 or forever.friends@nhs.net