By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS
PATIENTS from Montfield Hospital’s Ronas Ward transferred to their new home in the Gilbert Bain Hospital on Wednesday.
The 15 long-stay elderly patients were taken by ambulance to the refurbished Ward 2 of the Gilbert Bain. One patient was moved at a time with medical and nursing staff on hand at both ends of the short journey.
The existing staff on Ronas Ward moved with their patients, ensuring continuity of care.
Head of nursing Nina Fraser said the move had gone “fantastically well” and was complete by 3pm. Ms Fraser said: “It went really smoothly. The patients like the ward and their families and carers are really happy with the way it looks and the new facilities. There is a really positive feel.”
Ronas patients are described as being “slow stream rehabilitation” patients, recovering, for example, from a stroke or fracture, or they could have too many nursing needs for a care centre, or need palliative care. Their extended hospital stay made it important for the new top-floor ward, which may be re-named Ronas Ward, to be as comfortable as possible.
Once used for day surgery, the ward has been completely gutted. Windows have been replaced and internal walls knocked down to provide spacious and airy accommodation for up to 16 patients.
There are five single en-suite rooms, two four-bedded areas and a three-bedded area. These areas have their own bathroom and each bed is equipped with a tracking hoist to convey the patient to it, if they have difficulty in walking. It is thought that this ward is the only one in Scotland in which every bed has a tracking hoist – these can be operated by hand or by remote control.
In addition there is a sitting and dining area overlooking Breiwick. “The best view in the UK,” said project manager Lawson Bisset.
This area can be divided into two rooms by means of soundproofed concertina doors or kept as one larger room.
The bright white corridors with pale grey flooring and light beechwood doors, set at an angle into the rooms, are designed to be as unlike an institution as possible, and so are the colour schemes of the rooms.
The sitting area has a terracotta wall and brown leather sofas, complemented by heavy floral curtains. There are also louvred blinds to filter out the intense summer light, just one of the details that came about thanks to the period of public consultation, which started last year. Ronas Ward Sister Laura Whittall, now on the refurbished ward with her patients, said: “We listened to what the public said.”
The wards all have one aubergine wall, a fashionable deep red colour that Sister Whittall said was appropriate for anyone with Alzheimer’s disease and also makes elderly people feel warm. The rooms boast matching patterned bed covers and curtains in a gold colour to tone with the deep red.
Another interesting touch is the fact that the toilet seats are yellow – easy to recognise for anyone with failing eyesight.
Sister Whittall said of the colour scheme: “At first I was a bit nervous, everyone expects hospitals to be in pastel shades, but I liked it and long-stay patients need something homely.”
The ward has fewer beds than the 18 originally envisaged because of new government guidelines on infection control.
Each bed now has the required 2.7 metres of space from the centre of one bed to the centre of another. The lockers beside each bed incorporate their own medicine cabinet so that patients can be “self-contained”, if appropriate.
The single rooms in particular are very spacious, suitable for rehab patients to exercise in privacy.
Two further Ronas Ward beds have been created in the Gilbert Bain’s Ward 3, and there are two more on Montfield’s Vaila Ward.
A walkway between Ward 2 and Ward 3 to ensure easy staff flow between wards will be built in the spring.
Mr Bisset described the new ward as “a job to be proud of”. It is part of a larger refurbishment of most of the Gilbert Bain Hospital which will cost £2.8 million by the end of the financial year.