Saving lives through new technology

In August 2023 we made another grant to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to purchase Servo-U Ventilators. Alder Hey is a Partner Charity. Alan Newton-French from the children’s charity sent us this update.

transformed the treatment

The new Servo-U Ventilators at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have transformed patient lives this winter. This equipment has been invaluable for young patients receiving care on our High Dependency Unit (HDU) particularly throughout the winter months. Timely procurement has ensured the highest quality care above and beyond core NHS provision.

“We’re currently treating a young girl who has been supported by one of the Servo-U Ventilators for a few weeks. She’s gradually getting stronger and has recently started to breathe more by herself. It’s been rewarding to see her recovery journey, and I know she will soon be well enough to be discharged. Having the necessary equipment to be able to fully support patients is truly lifechanging.”

What has been the impact?

The Servo-U Ventilators have already benefitted many patients, including babies with bronchiolitis and children with complex neuro-disabilities who often have illnesses with multiple organ involvement, requiring long-term stays and extended periods of ventilation. During the most challenging times, these ventilators can become beacons of hope for families. The enhanced technology allows a tailored approach to healthcare with non-invasive ventilation that minimises the need for intubation and sedation. The looser fitting mask also reduces complications such as pressure sores and increases patient comfort.

Servo-U Ventilator making a big difference

What have we been doing?

Over 100 staff members across Alder Hey’s High Dependency Unit (HDU) underwent comprehensive training positioning them to provide critical care as soon as the Servo-U Ventilators were up and running. This proactive approach proved invaluable during our busy season starting in September and over the winter months. The Servo-U Ventilators now in use are intensive-care grade and include an additional ‘Neurally Adjusted Ventilatory Assist’ (NAVA) module. This uses technology that revolutionises the detection of breathing by operating at the neural level, rather than solely relying on physical breathing patterns. NAVA allows a tailored approach which has been proven to have better outcomes for patients including reducing ventilation time and facilitating easier transition to unsupported breathing.

Staff told us: “Their functionality is incredibly diverse, from advanced NAVA ventilation to highflow oxygen. The implication of this is that children who come to the HDU for respiratory support are put on a Servo-U Ventilator and can stay on a Servo-U Ventilator, rather than being moved back and forth to different machines depending on their treatment needs as we worked before.”

How are we transforming the provision of care in our HDU?

The clinical team have provided exceptional feedback about how this new innovative equipment has changed the way they work:

“The benefit of being able to ventilate our patients through just one machine cannot be overstated. The Servo-U Ventilators allow us to help our patients get better whilst not causing any additional undue stress to their families, which is really important to us.”

Providing a streamlined patient experience helps to alleviate anxiety for both the patients and their families leaving them feeling much more comfortable and assured. It also means that there is less equipment on and around the bed space, which improves the experience for our patients and their families and allows staff to do their jobs with more ease.

Chin Kien Eyton-Chong DU Consultant

What’s to come?

Alder Hey’s HDU team have already identified more potential in the ventilators and further ways to utilise their functionality . They will be looking into additional training as a priority in the coming months. The Servo-U Ventilators have become a cornerstone of our critical care capabilities enabling our dedicated staff to deliver the world-class healthcare that we believe all children deserve.

“Seeing the difference to our brave young patients and their families is incredible and is truly what makes working at Alder Hey so wonderous. It wouldn’t be possible without the best technology.”

Chin Kien Eyton-Chong, HDU Consultant

Technology continues to change how the medical professions, particularly in our hospitals, treat patients under their care. Our friends at Alder Hey will keep us updated on progress and change. With the pace of technological advancement and the inability of the NHS to fund this new equipment, it would not be a surprise if our next grant will be for more game-changing kit.