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Lifesaving equipment provides new service for patients at the RUH

FEES Training

The Forever Friends Appeal, the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath, with the support of the community have been able to purchase medical equipment that will introduce a brand new service to the hospital.

The portable equipment commonly known as a FEES machine, (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) will be used by the Speech and Language Therapists to test, assess and provide rapid diagnosis and treatment to patients with swallowing difficulties at their bedside. This will replace the existing service provided by the hospital’s X-Ray department, thus alleviating the movement and transportation of some of our most vulnerable patients.

With the help of a tiny camera, the team of therapists using the FEES at the patient’s bedside will be able to view the mouth and throat and evaluate whether food or liquid is escaping into the patient’s airway and treat immediately, reducing the risk of infection and the need for feeding tubes. Patients who have been affected by a Stroke, Parkinson’s, Cancer, or even COVID-19 along with many other illnesses will benefit from the FEES machine.

Richard Gyde, Deputy Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “This equipment is currently only available at a small number of trusts and thanks to charitable support, this service can now be rolled out across the hospital enhancing the service our therapists can provide.

“On behalf of the charity, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this Appeal through donations, participating in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, our Local Solicitors who generously donated their fees and time in support of RUH Will Month, and the generous charitable support from The Friends of the RUH which helped us complete the Appeal.

Catherine Crawley, Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist – Neuro-trauma said: “The Speech & Language team are overwhelmed by the delivery of the new machine and we are excited to be able to provide a first class service that gives rapid assessments at our patients’ bedside, enabling us to give a much quicker diagnosis and treatment.

“We plan to train more staff and roll the service out to assess patients across the hospital including those in Critical Care – our most vulnerable patients.  We will be looking forward to updating you all on the impact of this equipment, the service it provides and the ways in which it has improved patient care.

“On behalf of my team I would like to thank you everyone who has donated and been part of the fundraising efforts.”