Former Royal Navy nurse, Carol Betteridge, has spent her whole career caring for wounded military personnel, including as Commanding Officer of the hospital in Camp Bastion during the war in Afghanistan. Now Head of our Welfare and Clinical Services Team, Carol took time out to describe how our recovery services are evolving to meet the changing needs of the men and women we serve; and how gifts in Wills are giving wounded veterans help today and hope for tomorrow.
“When I was serving in Afghanistan and other conflicts I looked after guys and girls from the point of injury, doing everything I could to keep them safe and get them back home.
“When I left the Armed Forces I wanted to make sure the people I’d helped on the ground were able to lead happy and fulfilling lives after leaving the Services. That’s why I joined Help for Heroes.
“With the help of wonderful friends like you, we are the only charity giving military personnel, veterans and carers one-to-one support through a dedicated in-house Clinical Team. We support veterans and personnel suffering from any and all types of injury or illness suffered during military service; and we’re growing our team to reach ever more veterans and carers over the coming months and years.“
“Making sure veterans and their family have the tools they need to live a fulfilling life isn’t just our duty, it’s our privilege.”
“When Help for Heroes was born, the recovery centres you helped to build and equip provided a safe space for personnel to recover together. But as time has gone by, the needs of our wounded have changed.
“We’ve always offered a wide range of services for veterans and their carers under one roof. We’ve been working in a community setting over the last few years and had already introduced some digital services before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but since March 2020 we’ve adapted all of our services to be delivered remotely.
“That contact and continuity of care has been really important. Being able to get support online - whether a social activity, fitness training or one our sleep clinics - has also benefited those who would struggle to attend a recovery centre, perhaps because they have mobility issues or live in a remote area.
“So with your help, we’re still providing all our life-changing services, but we’re now offering them in the community and online, rather than in our centres.
"We are here to serve and support – however long it takes.” - Clinical Services Team.
“No longer will veterans and families have to travel hundreds of miles to access help. Because we’re going to them.”
“As the coronavirus restrictions ease, my team are looking forward to resuming home visits.
“Veterans are proud and often downplay their struggles. Meeting them at them at home helps us see if they’re sleeping on the sofa because they can’t climb the stairs. They might not be able to get to the bathroom independently or use the kitchen.
“Once we know the full picture we can help organise adaptions to their home, specialist equipment, counselling, medical treatment and a wide range of services. We’ll provide ongoing case management and support based on their personal circumstances and needs, whether that’s online, face to face or within safe spaces in the community.
“We treat everyone individually and won’t stop until we find the right surgeon, consultant or clinician to provide the best possible treatment – however long it takes.”
“The veterans and families we support have given so much for their country, never faltering in their efforts to keep us safe.
“A gift in your Will could provide a wheelchair to keep a veteran mobile, or physiotherapy to help another walk. You could provide specialist IT equipment for a veteran who can’t communicate with their children. You could fund housing adaptions to allow someone to sleep upstairs in their own bed. You could provide specialist equipment that enables a veteran to feed themselves for the first time in ten years.
“Giving someone their self-confidence back is a priceless gift that will change their life forever. And you have the power to do just that.
“Thank you for being a hero to our wounded heroes.”