Environment of Care award for new healing garden

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Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has won an award for its newly opened Critical Care Healing Garden at the annual Patient Experience Network (PEN) National Awards.

The awards recognise best practice in patient experience across health and social care in the UK. RCHT picked up the Environment of Care award for the rehabilitation and sensory healing garden for critically ill patients, which officially opened last month.

It is one of the first therapeutic gardens in the country to have medical gases directly piped into a dedicated outdoor space. This enables patients to spend as much time as they are able experiencing the healing powers of the natural environment.

Lisa Niemand, Clinical Matron for Critical Care Unit, Critical Care Outreach Team and the Pain Service, said: “The garden is going to be of huge benefit to our Critical Care, it provides a beautiful area with sensory plants, sculptures, peaceful seating for families and carers, and two outdoor hospital bed spaces.

Lisa Niemand and Kym Vigus
Lisa Niemand and Kym Vigus, Critical Care Staff Nurse, collecting their award

The provision of piped oxygen for an outdoor space gives patients that require ventilation or respiratory support access to nature away from the normal hospital setting.

“The Critical Care environment is very clinical, very white, and noisy night and day. From the machines to the number of staff and emergencies occurring 24/7, this causes an increase in disorientation and delirium.

This extension of our clinical space will provide peace, tranquillity, time for grounding and re-orientation to the daytime, and improve the experience of visiting for both the patients and their loved ones.

“We are absolutely delighted to win this award. It really is testament to the passion and dedication from everyone who was involved in the project.”

The design, creation and installation of the garden was funded entirely by charitable donation, with the design created by local landscape design company, Lavigne Lonsdale, who were inspired to create a stunning yet practical garden following consultation with Critical Care Unit staff and ex-patients.

PEN is an independent, not for profit, service provider and membership-based network, founded upon an understanding of the importance of a great experience – whether this is for patients, carers, or staff.

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