Laura Oakley

Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Dad saves son choking on 20p coin

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Ugo with his son Reuben. He used first aid when his son was choking on a 20p coin.

Many of us will give our dads little tokens of appreciation to mark Father’s Day this month. But some of us may have more reason than others to express our thanks – like little Reuben.

After coming home from a family day out, dad Ugo had laid Reuben down to change his nappy – something he’d done hundreds of times before.

But unbeknown to Ugo, Reuben was holding on to a 20 pence coin his uncle had given to him as pocket money earlier on that day.

When Ugo turned his back, Reuben put the coin in his mouth – and started to choke.

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Meet Michael: Norwich City fan and super first aider

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British Red Cross first aider Michael Segon with Norwich City FC player Martin Olsson

Volunteers are the backbone of the British Red Cross. They never cease to amaze us with their dedication. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, you come across someone like Michael Segon.

Michael is one of our first aid volunteers. He recently celebrated a whopping 60 years of volunteering with the Red Cross.

Over the years he has provided first aid at a wide range of events in the Norwich area.

But his bread and butter has been the matches at Norwich City Football Club. He’s been on duty at more than 1,700 games.

Being a massive Norwich City fan, Michael has loved being able to combine his love for first aid with football.

And despite recently suffering a heart attack, Michael is determined to continue volunteering.

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Why ‘bed-blocking’ isn’t the real problem

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A woman lies in a hospital bed

Many patients are fit to leave hospital – but they can’t. Why? Because the right care and support isn’t available for them at home. They find themselves trapped in hospital beds – beds that are needed for new patients.

These people are commonly known as ‘bed-blockers’ – as if they themselves are the problem.

According to BBC analysis of NHS figures released today, more than one in 10 patients in England face long delays for a hospital bed after emergency admission.*

This is an issue. But let’s be clear – it is almost always never the fault of the patient. These delays are caused by pressure on health services and a lack of investment in care services for adults.

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One very big red weekend

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Mike Adamson Red Cross CEO at bake sale with Co-op staff from Malmsbury store as part of the Big Red Weekend.

A flurry of fundraising fun swept across the UK at the weekend as employees of The Co-operative Group marked this year’s Red Cross Week.

From bake sales to sponsored cycles, raffles to slime baths, Co-op staff were busy raising funds as part of our charity partnership to help tackle loneliness and social isolation across the UK.

Last month it was announced that The Co-op had already raised £1million towards this partnership – so we were excited to see what went down at Co-op stores all over the country for the Big Red Weekend.

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Home from hospital: time for change

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Raymond Attrell with Anna Holecz

Raymond Attrell with British Red Cross support worker Anna Holecz.

The day you get the OK to return home after being in hospital, should be a really good day. So why are some people afraid to go home?

You’ve recovered. You should be feeling better, positive and confident that you can cope with life at home – with whatever support you have arranged.

But a report has revealed that’s not always the case. Vulnerable patients, often frail or elderly, are being sent home from hospital too early – afraid and with little support.

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Why you have to call 999 the moment you suspect a stroke

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If you suspect stroke, call 999

We live in an era that values speed. These days you can have almost super-fast anything – from broadband to noodle soup.

It’s important to be speedy within the world of first aid too – especially when it comes to treating someone for stroke.

One stroke happens every three minutes and 27 seconds in the UK*. That’s about the same time it takes to microwave popcorn.

The good news is we can all very easily help someone having a stroke.

You just need to be able to spot it and call 999. Fast.

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Older couple ‘tickled pink’ by Facebook

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Tom and Jean Fussell learning to use their tablet with Red Cross volunteer Jo

In this day and age you can stay connected to your nearest and dearest with the touch of button. You can Skype your cousin in Canada and WhatsApp a picture of Meera the cat to your sister. You can even share your holiday snaps with friends on Instagram.

But only if you know how.

Tom and Jean Fussell did not. The couple from Radstock, both in their eighties, felt cut off from their loved ones dotted across the globe.

They had bought a tablet in the hope they could stay in touch. But they hadn’t learnt how to use it.

“It’s all new to us. We were brought up in a different era,” Jean said.

“When we went to school we had chalk and slate and a pen you had to dip in ink.”

But with a little help from a British Red Cross volunteer, that was about to change.

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Quiz: How helpful would you be on a stag or hen party?

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Conditions on a hen or stag party are perfect for the bystander effect to kick in. Act to overcome it.

The wedding season may be upon us but before anyone says “I do”, there’s one last party to be had. It’s stag and hen party time.

Hopefully you’ll have a first-aid-free evening. And even if something does go wrong, you’re sure you’ll spring to the aid of anyone who needs it.

Right? Maybe not.

There’s a phenomenon called the bystander effect taking hold of party-goers across the UK.

Would you stand by or step in? Take the quiz to find out.

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