Remembering what matters most

Like most organisations, December at Leuchie House is a time for reviewing the current year and putting the finishing touches to our plans for 2018.

As we crunch the numbers and chart our progress on targets, I always think it’s essential to remember to review our most important measure of success:- the impact Leuchie has on the people who use our respite service.

There have been so many stories in 2017 which illustrate the difference having a respite break makes to our guests, I thought I’d share with you two of those which have touched me most.

When Malcolm and Annette stayed with us this year, they told us that due to Malcom’s condition they hadn’t been able to stand upright together since their golden wedding. With the support of our team, using a specialist piece of equipment called a standing frame, we were able to help them spend time standing side-by-side for the first time in five years. Annette’s tears of joy reminded us just how precious the simplest things can be.

Then there was Barry, who because of his spinal injury, was unable to be out of bed and in his wheelchair for longer than two hours at a time before the pain in his lower body meant he had to lie down again.  Our physiotherapy team used our new pressure mapping system to identify the pressure areas causing him so much discomfort. They then adjusted the footplates in his wheelchair by just an inch, which altered his sitting position and took the pressure off the problem areas. This tiny adjustment allowed him to stay up for much longer periods, to get out and about, and to go to the cinema. All of which has improved his quality of life immeasurably.

As I’ve said many times in this column, Leuchie wouldn’t be able to exist without the incredible support of local people. I hope these stories – just two of many – will show you how much difference this support makes to people’s lives. We, and they, can’t thank you enough.

From everyone at Leuchie, we wish you a very peaceful and happy Christmas, and our best wishes for 2017.

Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 22 December 2017.