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Tuesday, 27 October 2020


Specialist paediatric ventilators arrive at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

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FIVE new specialist paediatric ventilators, funded by Rockinghorse, have arrived safely at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and are ready to be put into action.

Following a successful fundraising campaign by Rockinghorse, the charity has been able to provide this much-needed equipment to meet the increased needs of the children’s hospital. Each winter medical staff see around 120 children who need respiratory support and this number is increasing every year, especially with the continued threat of COVID-19.

The Alex now has a total of nine specialist ventilators, all donated by the charity, which means that, if needed, they are able to provide a ventilator at every child’s bed-space in the High Dependency Unit at the hospital.

The Vivo 65 ventilators, manufactured by Breas, are at the cutting edge of ventilator technology. They are specially designed to be more comfortable and controllable for younger patients along with providing high performance, extensive monitoring, and a greater degree of flexibility.

Having this equipment to hand not only means that the Paediatric Critical Care staff can provide critically ill children with the support they need quickly, but it also means that they can be treated closer to home rather than having to be transferred to Paediatric Intensive Care in London – something which can make an already stressful situation even worse for families.

Vivo 65 Ventilator

These new ventilators offer a greater level of support for younger children; they can be used to support new-born babies from as small as 3kg up to 6-7month olds. They are also helpful in the treatment of disabled children who often require respiratory support during their multiple admissions along with long-term patients who need constant ventilation while in hospital.

Ventilators are a well-known piece of hospital equipment, but these specialist child-friendly versions will provide a much higher standard of care.

Kamal Patel, Consultant at the Alex, explains:

“The adult machines were much more uncomfortable, and the younger patients would need to be sedated before they could be used. Also, the amount of adjustment these machines would need by the nursing staff to get them to exactly the right settings for children meant it took them three times as long to set up as this version.

“So, not only are they much more sophisticated and easier to use than those used for adults, but they save time and resources; they are above standard and unique in the South East area.”

David Phillips, Deputy Charge Nurse at the Alex, is delighted with the new machines, he said:

“These new ventilators are brilliant! They’re so much more portable than adult machines which makes them more versatile. And having theme here reduces the impact on adult services and means that children don’t have to go further from home to get the treatment they need.”

And with the proposed merger between Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and Western Sussex Hospitals, the potential catchment area for both the expertise and equipment will widen meaning that more children will benefit from these machines across the county.

Fundraising during this year’s health crisis has made it difficult for many charities, including Rockinghorse, but they were determined to make sure that they are still able to provide help where it’s needed most.

Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse CEO, explained:

“This year has been challenging for everyone, but especially across the health services. And whilst our fundraising revenue has certainly diminished, we are determined not to be beaten!

“We are so proud to be able to help the team at the Alex with these cutting-edge machines and really want to continue to provide life-changing equipment like this for many years to come. We are passionate about helping to provide support like this to enable children to be treated in a way that best suits their needs.”

The ventilators will be put to immediate use where they are needed most in the children’s hospital. For more information about the projects that Rockinghorse are supporting or to donate to the charity, take a look at their website: www.rockinghorse.org.uk.

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