27 December 2023

Therapy equipment improving patient’s fitness

On the F11 intestinal failure ward at University Hospital Southampton, charity funded exercise equipment and games have boosted patient’s fitness prior to undergoing major surgery.

Dawid Skladnikiewicz, physiotherapist, says, “University Hospital Southampton is a regional intestinal failure centre for the south west of England.

Patients admitted to F11 spend a long time in hospital. This enables us to get them ready for the specialist surgery which will allow them to eat and drink again, so they can live their lives without the need for artificial feeding tubes.

Since 2019, F11 has had a dedicated Physiotherapy service. This aims to improve patients’ fitness prior to surgery and rehabilitation afterwards.

Thanks to funding from Southampton Hospitals Charity, we’ve been able to buy a specialist exercise bike, a wheelchair, and a collection of games and activities for our patients.

The specialist exercise bike has allowed the team to carry out prehabilitation exercise programmes that target patients’ individual fitness needs, and crucially gets them fit enough to withstand the physical toll of surgery.

The bikes can be specifically adjusted and controlled to alter the resistance at which patients pedal, whilst allowing the movement to be carried smoothly, comfortably, and effectively. They come fitted with technology that can monitor the heart rate and blood pressure to ensure that patients can be closely observed whilst exercising, and have programmable exercise routines that can be customised to suit each patient.

The addition of the wheelchair to the ward has given patients a stronger sense of freedom, where they can now access shops and gardens on site. Due to the length of stay for our patients, this has been well received.

The interactive games such as a Nintendo Switch, Connect4, and Bingo have also shown improvements to patients’ mood and engagement, along with fine dexterity and functional ability.

The therapy team now have more time with patients and can give each patient the best chance of recovering from major surgery.

We hope that through the introduction of these pieces of equipment, the team can provide the specialist care in preparing patients for their surgery, helping to avoid complications, improve their wellbeing, and overall reduce the amount of time they spend in hospital.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible for our patients.”

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