The Conquest Hospital can now boast one of the leading specialist units for treating sleep disorders, thanks to a little help from its friends.
The Friends of Conquest Hospital raised £23,000 to buy five state-of-the-art Bluetooth diagnostic devices called Nox-turnal kits, which can be used both in hospital and in patients’ homes.
The devices replaced fairly basic equipment previously bought by the Friends at the turn of the century.
“This new equipment has enabled us to diagnose people more quickly, which is a real benefit,” said Jill Meeres, principal sleep technologist.
But the support of the Friends didn’t stop there. The unit was finding that some of their patients with sleep apnoea were showing signs of more complex sleep disorders but because it didn’t have the right equipment, these patients were having to go to London for a full diagnosis.
The Friends have now come up with a further £47,000 to buy advanced diagnostic devices called PSG (Polysomnographic) kit, which has additional sensors that can record the brain’s activity while a patient sleeps.
The sleep disorder unit was set up more than 20 years ago by consultant ENT surgeon Andrew Meredith, who is the lead clinician in charge. It is managed by Jill Meeres.
The unit’s main task, she explains, is diagnosing and treating patients who have obstructive sleep apnoea, which causes the airways to close when you go to sleep.
If they are not diagnosed and treated, these patients are at higher risk of having a stroke or other serious heart problems, because their hearts work overtime to try to cope with the lack of oxygen.
The unit’s primary focus is looking after patients from Hastings and its wider catchment area. However, its reputation is so high nationally that it’s now getting patients from as far away as Scotland, and its referrals have almost doubled in the last four months alone.
The Friends of the Conquest say part of their role is to spot the potential of teams working in the hospital and provide the funds to make them centres of excellence. The Sleep Unit was one such team and the extra help has enabled them to develop into a high-profile specialist team.
To donate or join the Friends, or for more information, visit conquestlof.org.uk.
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