When news happens, text CHRON and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email & phone.
Winchester hospital aiming to improve children's experience
11:30am Sunday 30th October 2011 in News
HOSPITALS can be scary at the best of times for children.
Now Winchester's hospital is hoping to improve the experience for both them and their anxious parents - but it will need your help to do so.
The Royal Hampshire County Hospital has launched its Magic Wand Appeal, a bid to raise £1.5m over the next three years to fund a redesign and refurbishment of its children's ward.
This will build on the already open Sophie's Place assessment unit within the ward, which prompted the campaign.
Dr Ian Rodd said when Sophie's Place was built three years ago, with funding from the Sophie Barringer Trust, it got staff thinking about the rest of the ward - about the way it looks and whether it is nice for children to come to.
They also considered whether when people got onto the ward it made sense - did people logically go through the ward so they did not get confused as to where they were going - and finally did it make sense in terms of the way staff did their job.
“Whereas in paediatrics we used to have lots more children staying in the hospital for longer children are only in hospital for one or two days or never stay in hospital, a lot of what we're doing is outpatients work or where time in the services out of hospital,” said Dr Rodd.
“When we looked at the ward we thought the ward didn't make sense.”
The 18-bed unit currently deals with around 6,000 inpatients and 35,000 outpatient appointments a year.
Funds would go towards radically improving the facilities creating more single rooms with en suite facilities and parent beds, a larger day assessment area to avoid children having to stay in overnight unnecessarily, a separate day unit for surgical cases, a new centralised reception and more consulting rooms.
At present there is only one en suite facility room and that is generally reserved for oncology patients.
Beyond that, parents staying overnight can either sleep at the bedside or share a room which has two beds.
Dr Rodd said, rather than having two big rooms and lots of cubicles that were sometimes full sometimes empty, they wanted fewer rooms and more of them en suite facilities - they want to build seven.
“If you have got a child in hospital what you want to be able to do is focus completely on your child's welfare,” said Dr Rodd.
“What you don't want to be worrying about is all the stuff around that - are there age appropriate things around, is there a toilet I can get my child to in a hurry if they feel sick, is there somewhere for me to stay so I'm not exhausted because I couldn't sleep.”
He added that the happier the children are the easier it is for staff to look after them.
The ward emphasises ambulatory paediatrics, which means getting children home if at all possible he said that this ward would be an extension of that, getting children treated quickly in the right place in the right amount of time.
The Sophie Barringer Trust, set up in memory of cancer sufferer Sophie Barringer who died aged six in 2004 and was treated at the Winchester hospital, has offered £80,000 for rebuilding the front of the ward, which will be done first.
The hope is that the rest of the money can be raised over a two to three year period and that the improvements will be made within five year's time.
One of those supporting the campaign is mother-of-two Claire Noonan.
Her five-year-old daughter has been in and out of hospital since she was born 15 weeks premature.
“We were told to take each day as it came,” said the 39-year-old, of Oliver's Battery Road, who also has daughter Emma, aged seven.
When born, Charlotte was put on a ventilator for three days and had to have help with her breathing for three weeks and during this time she developed a nasty infection.
Claire said her daughter had to have her heart restarted four times and she remained in the maternity unit for three months.
Charlotte suffered with bronchiolitis and has been a regular visitor at the hospital throughout her life, the longest stay being three weeks, but mostly just overnight.
Claire said that it was much better being in a private room.
“If you are in your own room nobody's going to disturb you and you might actually get some sleep. [If not] You have got people coming in the night and other people being checked. It just makes for a much better experience.”
She said she had seen the difference that Sophie's Place had already made - whereas in the past they might have had to wait in the play room to be seen, now it means Claire can sit with her daughter in a bed with a doctor at the station.
Dr Rodd said the funds for such plans had to be found outside the hospital budget.
“There's just not the money in the NHS to move from a good level of care to a gold service,” he said.
“We want to give our children the gold service and if we are going to do that unfortunately we're going to have to do it by fundraising because otherwise we cannot pay.”
He added that this was a service likely to benefit a large number of children in the community at some stage or another.
“Most children aren't coming to see paediatrics regularly, fortunately most children are well,” he said.
“But if you look at the number of children who will come to see us in outpatients or see us for a day surgery or because their GP has asked us to review them, that's a big number of children.”
You can donate in a variety of ways - by visiting wehct.nhs.uk/yourtrust/charitablefunds or justgiving.com/TheMagicWandAppeal, by texting WAND33 to 70070 to donate up to £10 on your mobile phone, by setting up a standing order with your bank to donate monthly or send a cheque payable to Winchester Eastleigh Healthcare Charitable Fund (The Magic Wand Appeal).
For further information call 01962 825377.