Youngsters having planned and emergency day surgery in Middlesbrough are now receiving their care in a bright, welcoming unit following an extensive refurbishment at The James Cook University Hospital.
The children and young people’s surgical day unit cares for children aged from four months old to 19 years old who are expected to be able to go home on the day of their operation.
The redesigned unit is now split into different zones allowing staff to customise a patient’s environment to their specific needs.
Upon entering the unit there is a brightly coloured young children’s area with images on the walls to capture the attention of younger children.
There is a new central play area designed to keep children occupied before surgery and to encourage them to get out of bed and have some fun after their operation.
It has an interactive floor projector, giving children the opportunity to play games across the floor using hands or feet, a selection of toys and some quiet seating.
For older children, there is now an adolescent zone which has dimmable lights and astronomic ceiling lights to create a calmer, quieter environment with the choice of beds or bean bags.
There is also a sensory side room which can be customised to the needs of any child from a plain white room to a room exploding with light, sounds and colour.
Amy Norrington, lead for paediatric anaesthesia and paediatric pre assessment said: “It is wonderful to be able to offer children in Middlesbrough a similar type of pre-operative environment as they would experience in a larger children’s hospital.
By changing the environment and creating interactive play areas we can improve the children’s experiences in hospital, reduce their anxiety levels and hopefully make them happier to come back and see us again."
The unit was given the seal of approval by five-year-old Ezra who attended James Cook for grommets along with his mum Charlotte Fenny from Norton.
Charlotte said: “I was a little anxious but I’m more at ease now that he’s having fun.
“It doesn’t feel like a hospital ward, it’s so nice – especially all the colours and all the toys they can play with and maybe take their mind off what’s going to happen – it’s nice to see him happy.”