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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Family launch appeal for Intensive Care Unit

Family launch appeal for Intensive Care Unit

Posted on Thursday 25th October 2012
Marc Shackley

Yvonne and Keith Matthews pictured with nurses from ICU

The family of a seriously ill patient have paid tribute to staff in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven and are now launching a campaign to raise money for the unit.

Yvonne Matthews had been on life support for three weeks after a suspected heart attack and she is now making a rapid recovery.

Mrs Matthews’ husband Keith said: “I want people to know how brilliant all the staff are. I want to go to the top of the highest mountain and shout about it. From day one when I got the sad news that Yvonne might not live, all of the hospital staff have been brilliant. They explained everything to us; nothing was a problem to them.”

Now Mr Matthews, a well-known charity campaigner and fundraiser in West Cumbria, is launching ‘Keith & Yvonne’s West Cumberland Hospital ICU appeal’. Keith plans to hold concerts and coffee mornings and also hopes to stage a friendly match between Workington Town and Whitehaven rugby league clubs to raise funds.

Keith’s first priority is to raise enough money to donate six iPads to ICU (one for each bed in the unit).

Hazel Clark, Sister on the Intensive Care Unit, explains why iPads can make such a difference to patients: “iPads can help with communication barriers both family and staff face with patients on the unit. Many of our patients have difficulty communicating, perhaps because they have a tracheostomy tube fitted. Staff have a lot of experience of this so can lip-read quite well but family and friends can find it very difficult and it is frustrating for the patient.

“There are apps available on iPads which allow the patient to type out what they want to say and the iPad will speak their words out loud and there are also options to press a button which will say ‘I need the toilet’ or ‘I’d like a drink’. Having an iPad for each bed in the unit would improve communication between patients and their families and also patients and staff on the unit. We are extremely grateful to the Matthews family for their fundraising efforts.”

Mr Matthews says he hopes that his family’s appeal will become a ‘community effort’ and people will get behind them to raise money for the hospital. Keith and Yvonne will launch their appeal in Tesco in Workington on Friday 26 October at 10.30am. They would welcome people coming along to show their support.