Published on: 5 June 2019
The family of a South Shields father who was cared for in his final days by staff in the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at South Tyneside District Hospital have donated items to aid other patients in their recovery.
In January this year, electrician Jason Heselton, 55, suffered two strokes and subsequently contracted pneumonia and sepsis. He was looked after in the ITU for two-and-a-half weeks until his death on February 18th. His family and friends donated £2,000 in his memory and decided to use some of the money to buy CDs, CD players and tablet computers for the unit, with the rest going to Macmillan Cancer Care in recognition of the support they were given when Mr Heselton had cancer 12 years ago
Jason’s wife, Christine, 55, said: “The staff in ITU were superb; nothing was too much trouble for them. They kept us constantly updated and we could ring them at any time. Jason loved music so we took some CDs in for him and I think listening to them really helped him to relax.”
Daughter Victoria, 27, said: “There is nothing I can really say that does justice to the care that we, as a family, received from the staff in the Intensive Therapy Unit at South Tyneside District Hospital. Dad was the patient but our whole family was treated with the same level of care. Staff ensured that we fully understood every step of his treatment and we were made to feel that we could ask any question. They did everything in their power to make a truly awful situation as pain-free as possible and, for that, we will be eternally grateful. We could not have asked for a more competent and compassionate team to take care of him.”
Her sister Charlotte, 21, added: “There was no debate when we discussed who we wished to make a donation to in Dad’s memory. We hope the CD players and collection of music will help future patients in the same way it settled Dad during his time in the unit. We also hope that the iPads will assist patients in their rehabilitation and preparation for their recovery outside of the unit.”
Lorraine Spence, Sister in ITU, said: “It was a privilege to look after Jason and we were very touched when his family told us that, in his memory, they wanted to donate items to benefit other patients. Communication, language and relaxation apps on the tablet computers will be an enormous help to us, not only in our work in treating the sickest patients but in improving their general wellbeing and establishing them on the road to recovery. For example, communicating verbally can be very frustrating for patients with a breathing tube, and English is not everyone’s first language.
“We now have a better understanding than ever before of how critical illness can have lifelong effects. Our aim is to restore our patients to health with as few ongoing problems as possible. With this in mind, rehabilitation after critical illness forms an integral part of our treatment plans and is as important as any other aspect of the therapy that we provide in ITU. Apps, such as relaxation ones, will be of great benefit in this process.”
She added: “The days in ITU can be very long, repetitive and arduous for patients and their relatives and music can be a great source of comfort and relaxation so the CD players and CDs are also very welcome.”