Metro Mayor officially opens innovative new garden room

The Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region officially opened a new project at The Walton Centre which brings very ill patients closer to nature – one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Mayor Steve Rotheram cut the ribbon on the new innovation, which will see intensive-therapy patients gain access to outdoor space safely.

The Trust’s Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) Garden Room acts as an outdoor extension for ITU patients, particularly those experiencing delirium – a common condition for brain-injured patients. The room is equipped with piped oxygen and suction systems, so long term ventilated patients can enjoy the greenery with friends and family while receiving the ITU care and support they require.

Clinical Director for Neuroanaesthesia & Critical Care Sandeep Lakhani, pictured above right, is part of the group of staff behind the idea for the room. He said: “We wanted to create a calm space for patients and their families within our Critical Care Unit as we realise that it can be a very distressing time for them.

“Often they arrive in a very anxious and traumatic moment in their lives, and that extends to friends and relatives too. With the garden room, patients will have lots of natural light and air, as well as plants and greenery to help with their recovery once they have recovered from the acute phase of their critical illness.

“I’m so glad that we’re now able to offer this to patients. I’m also pleased that staff from across the hospital have supported this and worked hard to make it a reality.”

During the formal ceremony, speeches were given by Chief Executive Hayley Citrine and the Mayor cut the ribbon, officially opening the room.

Steve Rotheram said: “I am sure that this garden room will be extremely helpful for patients at The Walton Centre, as well as their families and friends.

“The mental health and wellbeing benefits of exposure to nature are well documented and I am very proud to be able to open this innovative project.”

Michael Lewis-Walton was the first patient to use the room and also attended the event. Michael was told he had a tumour attached to his brainstem last year, which resulted in him becoming paralysed and ventilated. He is slowly recovering and uses the room regularly.

His partner Richard said: “It is fantastic that The Walton Centre is providing care, not only for patients’ medical needs, but for their mental health needs too. This room provides an opportunity for patients to escape the four walls and remember that daylight is waiting for them outside.”

The project was completely funded by The Walton Centre Charity’s Horsley ITU fund. Head of fundraising Madeleine Fletcher said: “When the team came to the charity to help with the idea for the Garden Room, we couldn’t say no! The enthusiasm for patient care at the Trust is exceptional.

“This room will help some of the sickest patients seen here at The Walton Centre receiving cutting edge treatment and it will be thanks to our amazing fundraisers’ donations.”

The Trust’s Organ Donation Team also kindly donated artwork and landscaping for the outside space.