Thousands of children could soon be benefitting from a £1 million overhaul of wards and other treatment areas at the Royal Preston Hospital.Advertisement
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity has launched its first ever Children’s Appeal.
Its target £1m will be spent on a shopping list of items which will reinvent children’s out-parents and in-patients which together treat 10,000 young people annually aged from one day to 19 years.
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Among the items it will pay for are a seaside-themed decorative makeover, virtual sky ceiling panels that will fade from daytime sunny blue to nights of twinkling stars and air conditioning to ensure treatment areas stay comfortable whatever the weather.
Every patient bed will also have its own reclining chair so that at least one parent can remain at their child’s bedside throughout the night.
There will be new lifts and hoists to make looking after very sick and disabled children easier for both staff and parents and a new suite to support young people, who may be suffering from mental health problems.
The money will also fund new play equipment, such as games consoles for older children and teenagers, who will now be put on wards together, and stimulating, interactive toys for younger patients, including sensory play trolleys.
Leading the appeal is Head of Charities Paula Wilson. She said: “We really hope the public will get behind us on this appeal, which will completely change the way children’s out-patients and in-patients look and feel.
“It is something we and our paediatric clinical colleagues have wanted to do for a long time. Our aim is to make coming to hospital less scary and there are good scientific reasons for this.”
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Divisional Nursing Director for Children Jo Connolly explained: “There is a lot of documented research showing that patients of all ages respond better to treatment in environments in which they feel less stressed and more relaxed.
“Currently our set-up is very traditional. Parents bringing their children to the hospital now for treatment, who were maybe once child patients themselves, probably won’t feel that too much has changed at least in terms of its look.
“We want to bring about a transformation so that the whole of our children areas becomes a healing environment.”
It is an ambition that is also set to directly benefit parents too, putting them at ease, allowing them to feel as though the hospital is a safe space for their unwell child.
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For all but six weeks of her life, Afiyah Master’s home has been a hospital ward.
Afiyah was born in November 2019, but even before she was born, parents Khadijah Munshi and Asif Master were told it was unlikely she would survive the trauma of her birth.
Since her birth, she has continued to exceed expectations with her determination to live, despite the fact doctors at the Royal Preston Hospital, the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital don’t know exactly what her condition is.
After her birth, Afiyah spent 249 days on the neonatal unit at the Royal Preston Hospital.
Now she has her own room at the children’s ward with her mum spending a lot of time at her bedside whilst dividing her time between her other children – Maryam (nine) and Fatimah (five) who haven’t seen their sister recently because of Covid restrictions.
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Afiyah is receiving palliative care. She is blind, partially deaf, struggles to regulate her body temperature and can suddenly stop breathing. When especially poorly, she can stop breathing multiple times a day, requiring immediate emergency intervention.
Khadijah, who has already raised £1,600 for the Children’s Appeal through donations to her Instagram page, @inthelifeofafiyah, said: “Afiyah is very tactile and very sensory orientated. She can sense unfamiliarity. Neo natal was Afiyah’s first home and its staff her first family because of the love and care she received.
“Now her home is Ward Eight. She has two to one care at all times and that care couldn’t be better. The ward itself could though. It’s old and tired. Supporting the Children’s Appeal opens up a whole new world of possibility for the children on the ward and for their parents.”
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