The Young Adult Cardiac Unit is another major achievement for Wessex Heartbeat at the leading edge of improving cardiac care. Everyone who contributed to making this happen should feel very proud.
Alison Farrell, Wessex Heartbeat, Chief Executive
For many of the 7000 people with congenital heart conditions treated by the specialist Wessex Cardiac Centre the new Unit is a long awaited and greatly welcomed facility. Its development has achieved a unique model of care in the UK where children’s, young adult and adult cardiac services are co-located, facilitating even better continuity of care so valued by patients and their loved ones.
The quality of the surgery or other treatment provided in the Wessex Cardiac Centre is obviously extremely important, which is why we’re fortunate to have one of the best cardiac units in the UK here in Southampton. However, there is also evidence to show people recover better when the environment within which they are living during treatment is both appropriate and of a high standard. That's another reason why this new Unit is so crucial. It provides patients with a more normal place to be, it helps them to feel less isolated and less bored, during often long periods in hospital, and patients tell us they and their loved ones are happier.
As ever in the middle of a hospital space is at a premium. But that didn't deter those designing the new Unit and it brought to the fore innovation and creativity to optimise the space and make every single detail as good for patients as it can be. For example:
BEDROOM AREAS: there are 4 ensuite single rooms; a light airy, room with 3 beds, and a further room with 5 beds boasting an impressive ship-board mural at the far end. In addition we were able to create one other room with 5 beds for more mature people with congenital heart conditions. All rooms have ensuite facilities.
A KITCHEN & LOUNGE: The kitchen and lounge areas, which adjoin one another, are situated at a right angle from the main corridor just a short distance away from the bedrooms. This separation is another way to help patients, and staff feel the Unit is not simply another ward, but it is a very special Unit. The kitchen is kitted out with a large fridge, individual patient food lockers, a mirowave and toaster.
THE RECEPTION: The reception area in the Unit feels more like one in a smart hotel than a hospital, and with its cheerful 'Hello' sign above is a welcoming feature for all-comers.
THE PHOTOGRAPH-LINED CENTRAL CORRIDOR: Scenes from Wessex landmarks sit alongside quirky photographs of animals as well as many of the highlights of the HIGH 5 Appeal, featuring patients, supporters, staff and the Heartbeat Team. The whole length of the corridor brings colour and interest and provides a very visual talking point, in addition to a lovely tribute to so many people who made the Unit possible.
A QUIET ROOM: Slightly hidden away is a quiet room for private and sometimes difficult conversations between patients and their doctors, nurses or other clinical staff. Although it has a treatment couch the room, like all patient areas, has colourful artwork, and as the name implies it is a quiet space for quiet moments.
THE CLINICAL AREAS: Despite the Unit feeling and looking non-clinical in lots of ways, it goes without saying it needs the best clinical areas to ensure staff can provide treatment as effectively and safely as possible. All of the clinical rooms, as well as the Sisters Office, are sited on the opposite side of the corridor to the bedroom areas and are well equipped, but even these might surprise in the bright colour schemes fitting in with the rest of the Unit.
We think the Young Adult Cardiac Unit is the best, but if you have stayed there, or you have a loved one who needs the facility we’d love to know what you think as well. firstname.lastname@example.org