“It totally feels like home.”
For staff working on Walsall Manor Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit it’s hard to believe that it was just six months ago that its first patients moved into the new, state-of-the-art environment.
The multi-million pound unit, constructed by Skanska, has brought together Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and the High Dependency Unit (HDU) creating an 18-bedded unit, which is an increase of five beds.
The first patient moved from the High Dependency Unit just before 9am on Saturday 1 December 2018 with others following from that unit and the Intensive Therapy Unit during the course of the day. The final patient was moved just after 4pm. Since then 334 patients have been through its doors.
According to staff, the first six months has flown by.
Lead Intensive Care Consultant Dr Aditya Kuravi said: “It totally feels like home.
“When we think back to the two previous units and their limitations it’s hard to believe we coped for so long in such an inadequate environment and that our staff were able to deliver such safe, high quality care. Moving patients from one unit to another was so difficult and the restrictive space presented daily challenges.”
Senior Sister Angela Dixon said: “There is such a family atmosphere here now – bringing the two units together has definitely helped the team dynamic.”
Critical care colleagues from other parts of the region have also been keen to join the trust to work in such a state-of-the-art centre.
“We just couldn’t compete before but the new unit has created a real buzz and staff want to come and work here which is fantastic from both a recruitment and retention point of view,” said Julie Elmore, Matron for Critical Care Services & Anaesthetics.
The new ICU allows for the treatment of patients in individual rooms, preventing cross infection and ensuring their dignity and privacy. The standardisation of equipment at every bed space means any bed can be used for either an HDU or ITU patient, preventing them having to be moved. Each bed has a ceiling-mounted pendant that supplies a comprehensive range of essential services including essential gases, power for equipment and IT links.
A relatives’ room has been created to better support families and friends of patients. The room has been named the ‘Francoise Suite’ in memory of a previous patient and kind donation from the family.