Hospital Trust finalist in HSJ Patient Safety Awards for sensory suite

Wirral University Teaching Hospital has been shortlisted for an HSJ Patient Safety Award for a project helping adults with autism who are undergoing elective surgery.

The Trust has been shortlisted in the Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year category of the awards for its Supporting Treatment in Additional-needs Requirements (STAR) Project.

As part of the project, a sensory unit was opened at Arrowe Park Hospital in March and was the first of its kind in the North West of England to be set up specifically for adult patients with autism and additional needs, who are having planned surgery. It was officially opened by autism campaigner Christine McGuinness.

Janelle Holmes, Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said, “It is fantastic that we have been shortlisted for such an important award. The STAR Project is a brilliant piece of work that is really helping patients with learning disabilities, and we are delighted that the sensory suite is making a real difference to our patients.”

The suite was the vision of Deputy Ward Sister, Becky Brumpton, of the Surgical Elective Admissions Lounge (SEAL) where the Sensory Suite is based.

Becky has a son with autism and was aware of facilities available for young people but found there was a need for a unit specifically to help adults. It is also accessible to adults with additional needs who are attending the hospital for scans, biopsies, and radiology procedures.

With a specialist visual and sound facility such as a colour-changing wall panel, a plinth with fibre optic lights, a wall projector, and interactive sound panel and special soft furnishings, the suite offers a relaxed environment to relieve the stress of visiting the hospital for adult patients with additional needs.

Becky and staff from the SEAL Unit fundraised for the suite with the help of the hospital’s Charity.

Commenting when the sensory suite opened, Becky said, “This has been such an important project to me from a personal perspective and it is a much-needed facility. Having a facility like this can make a huge difference to patients. It helps to keep them calm at what would usually be a very stressful experience for them and for their families.

“This is about offering a holistic approach to caring for patients with additional needs and I’m really proud to have this facility now up and running.”

Image: Christine McGuinness pictured in March 2023 opening the Sensory Suite at Arrowe Park Hospital pictured with Deputy Ward Sister Becky Brumpton (far left); Nikki Van Schie, Theatre Manager at SEAL (centre left) and Tracy Fennell, Chief Nurse at Wirral University Teaching Hospital (right)

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