Caring For Veterans

Caring For Veterans

by Stewart Gillespie

Through nursing and rehabilitation, The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home supports ex-Servicemen and women of the past and present.

Worthing-based charity, The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home (QAHH) was established in 1919 to care for Servicemen who were injured in World War I. Founder, Lady Ripon, had a vision of a home where the injured men could be cared for, thus the Hospital Home was formed.

Since then, QAHH has been providing the highest standard of nursing and rehabilitation for disabled ex-Servicemen and women of all ages. Its aim is to help individuals to live as actively and independently as possible, in a caring, friendly environment that they can consider their home.

The QAHH nursing and rehabilitation team cares for veterans with a variety of physical and neurological disabilities and conditions. The needs of QAHH residents are complex and some have multiple disabilities; many have Acquired Brain Injuries, some have neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, others are paralysed or do not have use of their limbs, and some are terminally ill. The Hospital Home supports on average 140 residents a year.

The home-from-home environment provides 59 beds for long-term residential, intermediate, respite and end of life care; and QAHH’s multi-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation includes physiotherapy, neuropsychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and social and recreation activities.

Current resident, Larry, was a Senior Aircraftman in the RAF during the late 1960s. In 2007, he suffered a very serious brain injury following a fall down a flight of stairs, and was left in a critical condition – ventilated and incubated in intensive care. After a spell in King’s College London Hospital, he was transferred to QAHH in 2008.

Because of his Acquired Brain Injury, Larry is unable to walk and is very dependent on the nursing and care staff at QAHH. The wide range of rehabilitation, which he has received since his admission, has been tailored over the years to give him the very best quality of life possible. His mobility and independence have been greatly improved with the help of QAHH’s Wheelchair Technicians and on-site wheelchair clinic.

As a registered charity, QAHH must raise over £1.3 million each year in order to provide its care to residents. The charity holds various events throughout the year to help raise these vital funds, such as the annual Summer Fayre, which this year is on Saturday 8 July.

QAHH has recently launched an appeal so that it can purchase a cough assist machine. This life-saving piece of equipment is needed by those who have a weak chest due to their illness, and therefore cannot cough naturally. The total cost of this life-saving equipment is £6,060. If you would like to donate to the appeal, or if you’d like to find out more about QAHH’s work and fundraising events, visit their website: www.qahh.org.uk or call 01903 218444.