2011 Visit Reports

2011 has been a comparatively quiet year for the charity, but despite this, we have still contributed significantly to the hospital and village by raising funds to support future projects.

21st Anniversary Event, June 2011

The charity celebrated its 21st Anniversary by holding a fund raising event at Wooton-Under-Edge Town Hall on the 11th June

It was a great success, with quite a few people coming through the doors, thus gaining a lot more publicity for the charity.

It was also nice to see a few of the past members too, who came as a result of the invites sent out to them, including Jill Stephens who went out on the very first trip in 1991 and it was her husband George ( now deceased) who founded the charity.

 Various activities - Cake stall - Peg Game - Name the Teddy - Tombola - Raffle - Jewellery - Clothes - Christmas Decorations raised a total of  £263 profit.

In addition, Wendy Stephens donated £400 which she would like spent on village projects.

 Our thanks go to everyone who donated, and assisted on the day.


 Purchase Of The New Car, July 2011 

The Dacia car which we purchased in 2003 has served us well. Since 2010 though, the overall wear and tear from the poor roads, and build quality of the car have taken their toll.  The car has been such a valuable asset in us providing our services, it was decided we had to replace the Dacia.

So during June and July, we trawled the car markets and auctions to find a suitable replacement.  We eventually identified an excellent Ford Focus Estate, which was purchased by Peter and Vanessa during a short visit to Romania in July.  Click here for more details.

Summer Visit Report, August 2011

For the first time in many years, due to a mix of charity members availability we were unable to send a summer team to perform projects.  That said, what we do is not just about projects of labour, our projects are directly related to providing comfort and care for the patients in the hospital, and improving the life of the villagers too.

As part of an extended holiday in Romania, Laura and Simon Grandidge, with their children Shaun and Dominic spent a few days in the hospital and village as ambassadors for the Charity.  They were able to assess the current state of the hospital, as well as provide some much needed care and attention to the patients.    The Grandidges were helped by both Istvan and Nina throughout, and we thank them both for making the visit productive and enjoyable for all. The following are some of the observations from their visit.

The new occupational therapy (OT) unit was a joy to see for the first time. Inside it was warm, clean, light and airy. About 15 patients were using the two rooms to knit and stitch finish rugs made on the hand loom at the end of the room. Staff and patients looked comfortable and were welcoming. Istvan and the staff discussed the possibility of the Charity providing a cover over the decking area to the rear of the building for enable the area to be walked on even when it is snowing or frosty (approx 17m x 3m).

We visited the drying areas which have evolved from the construction phase since my suggestion following my winter visit in December 2007. The possibility of creating a similar metal framed structure with corrugated plastic or such like to cover the OT decking area, especially if the drying areas were extended during the same project was discussed.

Again, despite this being about my 8th visit it was a first to actually look in the mortuary. The table was covered by a fridge freezer and an ancient looking stretcher lent against the wall. The window space was filled with cardboard and the metal door was rusting at the bottom. A large cross was painted on one of the whitewashed walls and the floor was bare concrete. Istvan explained that relatives did not visit their deceased in this room, but that the intention was to make the room more weather proof and respectful of the purpose for which it is dedicated. With funding donated to the NNRT by Wendy Stephens, collected in memory of her late husband Terry, a new double glazed window and hopefully a new door will be provided.

We met with Head Nurse Stoica. She explained that the best time for me to do activities with the patients was between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Afternoon drinks and biscuits could be taken around anytime in the afternoon. Use of the Club area was offered, but I said that the tent area or circular wooden covered seating area would be perfect for my planned painting, drawing, playdough and bubbles (so long as the weather didnít deteriorate from the intermittent rain we were experiencing).

Nina arrived to assist with the patients. A few patients enjoyed the playdough but most werenít that enthralled and were happier using the paper and pencils weíd taken over. Nina and I were disappointed that the amount of pop bought for the first day was not enough, but it was a good to meet so many of the patients again as well as the afternoon care staff who were welcoming, but left us to our own devices.

On Thursday the weather was better so Nina, Istvan and I took paints and drawing materials out to the patients. Simon, Shaun, Dominic and Karina went out to the front of the hospital with the footballs. Within no time at least 5 patients were in joining the passing of the ball. Other patients spent some or all of the morning with us painting, drawing and joining in with the bubbles. In the afternoon we made sure that the drinks and biscuits were distributed first to those who had missed out the day before.

Friday followed much the same pattern. The painting and drawing activities were less focused as the funeral for a lady who had died on Wednesday started in the Hospital grounds with some patients joining the priest and a couple of relations in paying their respects. Istvan, Nina and I were shown in the Club room. The nurse explained that the Club room was used mostly in the winter months when the patients couldnít be outside. Their main activity is painting plaster of paris moulds which are sold if possible, especially at Christmas and Easter. In the afternoon it was a joy to finally have enough pop and more than enough biscuits to give out to all patients.

Leaving the Hospital on Saturday morning was very emotional for me. The cheerful waving through the open gates as we drove down the road was made harder to bear knowing that the gates would shut and the patients would be forced to continue their lives in poor conditions while we were free to drive off to visit the Black Sea.

Within three days we were back in the UK and my sadness at leaving the patients had evolved into disappointment about what happens in the Hospital. Patients are living in wards with more than six beds.  Many still didnít appear to have even a bedside cabinet to store a few belongings. There were patients in bed in the afternoon with food in a dish left on the floor or on a bedside table. Flies were obviously enjoying the available food more than they were. As we gave out drinks many patients would push forward their cups lined with coffee grindings which they gulped down without question. One lady had flies circling round her body and bed because sheíd had a wet accident. Finally, there were the patients who had to share their ward with a deceased patient.

I know we donít see everything that happens at the Hospital, who cleans the place, how often the patients are offered clean clothes, how often they are encouraged to wash and what they dry themselves with for example? However, Iím sure that more could be done to provide stimulating activities for those patients who are not able to produce useable or saleable works of art, crafts, knitting, rug making and embroidery. It took very little resources for me to spend two hours a day for three days with approximately 15 each day enabling them to create pictures or write words. They talked with each other about what they were doing and expressed joy as they showed others their works of art including the staff that came to see.

After over 20 years of this Charity and others working with the Hospital it is a great disappointment that care of the patients has not extended beyond the basic minimum requirements. There have been initiatives in the past such as the wood working room, the care of rabbits and occupational therapy staff on placement from Germany, but right now apart from watching a TV, activity for many of the patients if very limited.

These are the areas we as a charity need to continually strive to improve, to offer the patients a far greater quality in life.

Winter Activity Report

Unfortunately we were unable to send any team members to perform the usual Christmas present trip for the patients during December.  But, we would not let them down.  We provided the funding, and asked Istvan if he would be able to purchase the usual type of gifts for the patients.  we wanted them to know we had not forgotten them.  Istvan, with the help of his family, did his usual excellent job, sourced the gifts, and ensured they were distributed to the patients.  We thank them for their efforts.

So, what next ?

Money donated at the funeral of Wendy's husband Terry has - as proposed - now been spent on improving the condition of the small hospital mortuary.  A new double glazed window and door have been fitted.  John, the patient, has rendered the walls and they have been painted. An air vent will also be installed. 

It has been suggested that extra anchoring work could be done on the new drying shelters so that they donít slip lower into the ground over time. It was agreed at this meeting that this should be done.

More time needs to be spent with the patients offering care and activities to brighten their days as much as each patient is capable, especially those who canít get to the OT room for activities formally provided by the Hospital.

The concern over the condition of the school structure following the concrete surfacing of the playground resulting in drainage problems remains.

Laura reported that the Hospital nurses had asked if a cover could be put over the decking at the back of the new OT rooms to stop the wooden floor becoming slippy in the winter months. It was felt unlikely that the canopy would improve the safety of damp decking.

It was agreed that plans should be made to extend the drying area Ė 5 volunteers for 2 weeks were needed to build the shelters last year. Istvan to source resources before the teamís arrival.