One of the common misconceptions we hear about Help for Heroes is that we don’t help individuals.
While it’s true that we are putting significant funding into a long term solution for comprehensive recovery through our Recovery Centres, we have never stopped our day to day support of individuals and their families as they each battle along their individual road to recovery.
A brilliant example of this is the report we received from the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) as to how our financial support is being used through the Patient Welfare Fund at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
The report stated that your financial support has enabled us to provide additional extras to improve the wellbeing of 926 individuals during their stay at the hospital! This included:
• 138 Individuals who sustained Battle Injuries
• 169 Returning patients with previous Battle Injuries
• 420 Individuals who are suffering from Non-Battle Injuries
• 361 Families of patients
One of the main ways the team provide support to patients is through comfort food. It may sounds like a ‘nice to have’ but there is direct evidence that food consumption is associated with improved mood and can alleviate the effects of stress! Comfort food often links to pleasant childhood experiences as ‘food treats’ are often given to children either to reward them or to comfort them during times of illness or distress. Additionally comfort food is believed to alleviate loneliness by activating positive relationship concepts such as family, partners or close friends. Recognising this research, the RCDM team work extremely hard to make the ward feel like a home from home.
As soon as a patient is well enough to leave the ward, the RCDM team take them out to a local Frankie and Bennies or Pizza Hut and buy them a beer and get them something to eat. It may sound simple to us, but this “Pint and a Pizza” gets individuals used to being in the public eye, people looking at them and their severe injuries and lifts their spirits. It certainly is a big change from hospital food and you wouldn’t believe the impact this has on morale!
The RCDM team also use the Help for Heroes contribution to the Patient Welfare Fund to bring families and patients together for a treat away from the hospital. Sunday lunch is an age old favourite.
While taking patients out and about has a huge boost on morale, the team also ensure to keep events happening on the ward. Regular ‘theme’ nights include ordering in Chinese, Indian or Italian food and are a huge hit with patients! Another firm favourite is the weekly visit from a military Chef. During the day, the Chef makes a trip round the ward asking each patient what they would like for dinner. They then pop out to purchase the ingredients use the NHS canteen kitchen to cook each patient exactly what they asked for! The patients really look forward to the chefs coming in and once the food is cooked, the team gather all the patients together in the common room on the ward and everyone eats together. Families get involved too and it provides a fantastic atmosphere!
The fund is also used to bring comfort to family members. Sometimes the team put on a subsidised treat for loved ones that have spent weeks sitting in critical care waiting for their hero to wake up. Recently the team organised a meal for ‘Mum and Dad’ at a Marco Pierre-Whites restaurant. The manager kindly offered a 50% discount and the Help for Heroes funds to the Patient Welfare Fund topped up the rest. It was really important for the family to get out the hospital for a little while for some TLC.
These are just some of the ways the RCDM team are making a difference with ‘comfort food’ thanks to your support and we would like to say a huge thank you for doing your bit!
Just think, that £500 you raised doing a skydive could pay for 25 patients to enjoy a “Pizza and a Pint”, or the £200 you raised shaking a bucket outside Tesco could pay for the whole ward to enjoy their favourite meal cooked by a Military Chef!
Most importantly your support is providing DMWS with the vital funds they need to provide an individual solution for each patient and their family.
Please know that the money you raise is making a huge difference every single day. Thank you for helping us to help them!