Oxford Hospitals Charity has funded heart rate monitors for all Oxfordshire children with cystic fibrosis, aged six to 18, to help them monitor and maintain their fitness.

The charity has been working closely with hospital staff to find innovative ways to support patients during these complex times.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients can be particularly vulnerable and keeping young patients as fit as possible is really important.

The CF Physiotherapy team  asked the charity to fund the  heart rate monitors for children to wear – alongside an app to  encourage their exercise.

The team were kindly given five monitors for free by the manufacturer, Polar, so already knew they would make a difference.

Oxford Hospitals Charity then agreed to fund a further 70 heart monitors to ensure all Oxfordshire youngsters with CF could have access to this high quality kit.

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Frankie Taylor, a Paediatric Physiotherapist who works with children with CF said:

‘Exercise is so important for our youngsters – and improving our ability to prescribe exercise really makes a difference. Exercise is a key element in their physiotherapy care. There is direct correlation between intensity and frequency of exercise and maintenance of cardio-respiratory health.

‘At this time more than ever we wanted to support our patients. These heart monitors, together with the accompanying app, are proving invaluable in motivating our patients to exercise. They also allow us as their physiotherapists to review sessions and tailor advice to maximise benefit.  

‘It was wonderful to get this support from the charity. This is making a difference now and will contribute to improving our service moving forwards.

One of the first patients to receive a monitor was eight year old Laila, from Begbroke near Yarnton, pictured using her app whilst exercising on her skateboard at Blenheim Palace. 

Laila’s mum, Kerry Ralph said:  ‘I’d like to say a massive thank you to the charity for providing these heart rate monitors for Laila and for all the other CF children in Oxfordshire.

‘We try to make sure that Laila stays as active as possible, she does dance, karate, and normally has some specialist exercise classes too. These monitors have been really helpful during lockdown to encourage her to get out on her bike or bounce on her trampoline.

‘Because it’s all linked to an app, Frankie, her physiotherapist can keep an eye on her progress – which also helps encourage us to keep things going  And it’s great to know we will be able to get good feedback from the physiotherapists.

 ‘The team has been brilliant, really looking out for us all, which is so important as this has been a really difficult time for kids with cystic fibrosis.

‘I am also really grateful to the charity, as well as this heart monitor  they also funded a lung function monitor, which has been invaluable to keep a really good eye on Laila’s health and to reassure us that everything is ok. It has all made a really big difference during a difficult time.’

Jodie King from Oxford Hospitals Charity added:

‘We love working with clever and creative staff who are constantly thinking of new ways to help their patients. When Frankie asked us for this support we immediately saw the positive benefits the equipment would bring and were delighted to be able to help so many Oxfordshire children with CF.

‘Everything we do is thanks to the incredible support of our local community, so we would like to share our thanks with all the fundraisers and donors who help make such a difference in our hospitals.’

At the start of the pandemic the charity also worked quickly to provide lung function monitors for young Cystic Fibrosis patients to use at home , so they could continue getting high quality information about their health, without having to come into hospital. Read more here.

To find out more about how Oxford Hospitals Charity makes a difference across the wards and departments of your local hospitals, get in touch with the team via the methods below. 

Tel: 01865 743 444

Email: [email protected] 

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Oxford Hospitals Charity (registered charity no 1175809) is the official charity supporting Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. www.hospitalcharity.co.uk