Acquisition of Two Breathing Aids Vests for the Paediatric Ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Project location: GREECE, Heraklion
Project start date: December 2012 - Project end date: May 2013
Project number: 2012-088
Beneficiary: Crete for Life Onlus
The project purpose is to acquire two breathing vests (VEST® Airway Clearance System) to ensure better life conditions to the small patients of the paediatric ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion (Crete, Greece) suffering of serious breathing deseases, while waiting for more resolutive solutions such as lung transplant and stem cells treatment.
Diana is 11 years old and she was born with Bronchiolitis Obliterans, a progressive condition affecting her lungs. She is from Portugal and her parents have left their country to come and live in Crete as the dry warm climate helps Diana's breathing. Like other small patients of the Paediatric Ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece, Diana would greatly benefit from the use of "The Vest®".
As recommended by Doctor Eleni Mixhailidou, immunologist and lung specialist in the Paediatric Ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion, The Vest® will insure that Diana, and other children with similar life-threatening health conditions, can reach and maintain better breathing functions, while waiting for more resolutive solutions, such as lung transplant and stem cells treatment.
Children like Diana must endure Chest Physiotherapy (CPT), a rigorous, time consuming and often inconsistent treatment technique, The Vest® will give them a level of autonomy to feel less dependent and to pursue more rewarding activities.
The Vest® Airway Clearance System inflates and delivers vigorous yet comfortable air pulses to the body thorough a single hose powered by a programmable generator. The action of rapidly squeezing and realizing the chest creates air pulses or airflows, within the lung airways, which simulates repetitive "mini coughs", thus shearing the mucus away from the walls of the lungs, reducing the viscosity of the secretions and propelling the mucus toward the larger airways where it can be expectorated or suctioned more easily.
"The Vest®" is the only airway clearance method that can be administered by either the caregiver or the patient, with no expertise required. The Vest has been proven by several medical studies and is recommended for many conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, Asthma, Cerebral Palsy and Bronchiolitis Obliterans.
The cost of one new The Vest® Airway Clearance System is around € 15,000 (the amount is approximate because The Vest® is manufactured in the USA and the cost is dependent on the rate of exchange).
The Paediatric Ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion could apply to the Greek Ministry of Health for the purchase of one new item only but, in the present climate of financial hardship, it is unlikely that the request will be granted. However, even if successful, the Greek Minister of Health would cover around 70% of the costs, leaving around € 4000 to be funded by other means.
There are, however, a number of reconditioned vests that are available on the market and will be ideal for the use of the Paediatric Ward of Heraklion University Hospital. The cost for children's reconditioned vests varies between $ 3000 and $ 6500, less than 30% of the costs of a new one.
The sale representative and certified maintenance contractor for The Vest® in Greece, Mr. Nikos Chatziioannidis, has indicated that in the event of the purchase of reconditioned vests he will guarantee its maintenance for a yearly nominal fee covered by the hospital.
Crete For Life would like to acquire two reconditioned vests and donate them to the Paediatric ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion. They will be used at the discretion of Dottor Eleni Mixhailidou and her colleagues. The vests, in fact, can be used both in the hospital, but also lent to children with life-threatening conditions, in periods of remission or between hospital stays, to help them reach and maintain better breathing functions.
The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. The Vest® Airway Clearance System, releases parents, guardians and nurses, from the constant duty of Chest Physiotherapy (CPT), but, in particular, it liberates children from a tedious and often uncomfortable routine. The two reconditioned vests will help maintain a constant level of care to children with life-threatening conditions, both in the hospital and at home.
Crete For Life has already cooperated with the Paediatric Ward of the University Hospital of Heraklion, in finding ways to support their work with the many Greek and Foreign children in their care. Throughout the past years, as the general economical situation in Greece has greatly deteriorated, it has proven more and more difficult for the University Hospital of Heraklion, the largest hospital facility in Crete and one of the largest public hospitals in the country, to maintain its high standard of care.
The doctors are trying to help many of their patients in this difficult period for the country and are sometimes paying personally for acquisitions and repairs in the hospital, as the administration cannot approve of costs. The acquisition of the two vests is out of any budget or possibility in the immediate future.
The donation of two reconditioned vests will thus give encouragement to the department, support to the work of the doctors and nurses, and it is hoped that it might also influence other donors to come forward and help the indispensable work this ward is doing.