Calm and spacious surroundings can reduce stress during an anxious visit to hospital and can also aid recovery. But with pressures on the NHS, improvements can be difficult to fund without detracting from patient care.
Here are a few examples of recently funded projects:
Improving the environment for patients with dementia
Background: The number of older people in Cambridgeshire is rising fast. Over the 30 years to 2031, it is predicted that the number of over 65s will increase by more than 71%, and the percentage of people aged over 85 is set to soar by 131%. As the population ages, more patients being treated at Addenbrooke’s will have varying stages of dementia or delirium.
These patients can find the environment disorientating and frightening and may consequently become even more confused. However, there is much that can be done to help them adapt to the new environment.
The application: This application focuses on enhancing the ward environment for these vulnerable patients, introducing art and design to help with wayfinding, make the ward less confusing and provide distraction and talking points for patients.
Comment from the committee: “This application will hopefully positively impact on patients’ ability to recover and complements ACT’s wider fundraising for this important development.”
Grant applicant: Rachel Northfield
Amount awarded: £5,000 from ACT’s unrestricted funds
An oasis of calm for stroke patients
Background: Being able to get out and about is an important part of any patient’s rehabilitation after a stroke, particularly if their stay in hospital is a lengthy one. However, the courtyard garden between R2 and the Lewin Rehabilitation Unit had fallen into a state of disrepair and urgently needed attention.
The application: The application was made for a collection of flowers, shrubs and furniture to breathe new life into the garden. ACT granted £15,000 for the refurbishment and a legacy had been received from Dennis Wyatt whose wife, Elizabeth, had been treated on the stroke unit nine years earlier. The RVS also made a donation to make the transformation possible.
The courtyard has been named after Kae Rake, who was a ward clerk on R2 for many years and was a great supporter of the garden’s development.
Comment from Dr Keith McNeil, then CUH Chief Executive: “I’m sure Dennis would have been very impressed with how well his money has been spent and I know he was so grateful for the care and treatment his wife received on the ward.”
Grant applicant: Caroline Parr.
Amount awarded: £15,000 from the Lewin Stroke Rehabilitation fund.e
Acorn House and Chestnut House
Background: Acorn House and Chestnut House provide free, homely accommodation for families with a child or baby receiving treatment at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie, respectively. These ‘Homes from Home’ are clean and comfortable, with private bedrooms and communal living areas so families can stay close to their children in hospital, helping to alleviate the emotional and financial strains during these difficult periods.
Across the two houses last year, 776 families were supported, the majority of them from outside the local area. The application: The cost of running the two houses is almost £140,000 annually. This includes the salary and staffing costs of the two House Managers and two Assistant House Managers. Also included in this are insurance, cost of cleaning materials and repairs, maintenance and service costs. A grant was requested toward running costs.
Comment from the committee: “This service is much appreciated by all who use it.”
Grant applicants: The Sick Children’s Trust
Amount awarded: £20,000 from ACT’s unrestricted funds