Robotics appeal makes strides towards fundraising target
A unique hospital project to fundraise for rehabilitating patients living with stroke is on its feet and striding towards its fundraising finish line, thanks to an eye-catching campaign design from NHS Creative.
Walkerbot is an advanced robotic machine that helps people with stroke to relearn how to walk. The campaign aims to raise £365,000 to purchase the equipment, and thanks to a generous contribution from the Alan Miller Charitable Trust, they are almost halfway towards the target only four months after launch. Over 700 stroke patients are admitted to The Royal Bournemouth Hospitals every year, and Walkerbot can even help those with no activity in their lower limbs. If the campaign is successful, it will be the only NHS hospital with a robot of its kind in the south of England.
To ensure the project swiftly got up to speed, the Bournemouth Hospital Charity team commissioned NHS Creative to produce the campaign graphics and provide the associated fundraising items. This included t-shirts, posters, pull-up displays, leaflets, car park advertising boards, and of course, a giant fundraising target thermometer, all carrying the campaign logo:
“We love the amazing designs – everyone on the project team was so, so impressed!” said Rebecca Mole, PR and Marketing Officer at Bournemouth Hospital Charity.
“Stroke affects everyone differently and rehabilitation is all about supporting people to live full and independent lives,” said Dr Louise Johnson, Consultant Therapist in the stroke unit at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. “When it comes to the recovery of strength and movement, the amount of practice that someone does is critical – because practising movements helps to retrain the brain. Technology can help us to achieve high intensity practise in a safe way, particularly for people who are very weak. We are committed to delivering high quality rehabilitation, so that we give our patients the best chance of recovery. This is why we are so thrilled to launch the Walkerbot campaign. It will be fantastic to be able to offer people access to modern technology to complement their rehabilitation, and help them on their journey to recovery.”
Walkerbot uses a harness suspended above a treadmill and robotic limbs to move the patient’s legs in a consistent pattern. A computer controls the pace of walking and measures and adapts to the body’s response to movement. A therapist stands by to instruct the patient and analyse how they are walking, whilst interactive games and feedback help with motivation. This specialist equipment can enable patients to take thousands of steps per session – a vast improvement on the dozens of steps they may take with help from a therapist over the ground.
The campaign was launched by former AFC Bournemouth player Steve Fletcher, who said: “It’s more crucial than ever to help people living with stroke stay active during their recovery. To be able to access this sort of technology for free and on the NHS will be life-changing, and it’s fantastic to see how dedicated the Trust is to its patients’ health.”
Some of the Walkerbot posters and displays in situ
To find out more about the campaign and donate visit: www.bhcharity.org/walkerbot/