IMPROVED communication, more space and greater flexibility are just some of the benefits staff have seen since the Children’s Services department was centralised in the new wing at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.
The Children’s In-patient Ward, Ambulatory Care Unit and main Children’s Outpatient Department as well as the Special Care Baby Unit are all now under the one roof and on Tuesday afternoon The Fife Free Press was given a special tour to see the important work being done in each area.
Mrs Lana Clacher, Neonatal and Paediatric Nurse Manager and Dr Sean Ainsworth, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, said the department has been designed to be very child-friendly.
Mrs Clacher said: “We worked very closely with Karen Masters and her team from Adam Smith College who did the artwork for this part of the hospital. There is a seaside theme which starts as soon as you enter Children’s Services and you can see the two beach huts on the wall as soon as you come in. There are areas which are specifically for babies and toddlers as well as treatment rooms for adolescents so we are catering for newborns right through to 18-year olds. The artwork in here makes a big difference it has really brightened the place up.”
In the Ambulatory Care area there is a colourful waiting room where children can play games, read books and watch television while they are waiting to be seen by doctors.
At the bottom of the Children’s Ward there is a GP assessments area. Dr Ainsworth said: “This is where doctors can see children who come in and decide if they need to be admitted to the Ward.
“Many parents just need some reassurance and advice on how to cope with their child’s illness; with this many children can be sent home without the need for hospital admission.
‘‘Parents are offered further contact with either a telephone call or, in some cases, a visit from a children’s nurse. For example they would look at children with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchiolitis or little ones who have a high temperature.”
There is also a Parents Room where parents, who are visiting the Children’s Ward, can have some time out to sit and have a coffee and relax; as well as a bath/shower room which features a special high toddler bath, a resus room and a number of consulting rooms.
In the main part of the Children’s Ward there is a High Dependency Unit which is used to treat very sick children.
Mrs Clacher said: “This area has made a big difference because we can now treat the child closer to home rather than transferring them to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.”
Other important features of the Children’s Ward include a colourful dining room for toddlers, a play room and an outdoor play area.
Mrs Clacher said: “Having an outdoor play area for the children has made a huge difference. It allows our younger patients to get outside in the fresh air, which is such a release from the hospital environment.
‘‘They can go outside and play with toys and bikes which were donated by Balfour Beatty.”
The Ward also boasts a special Fairy Box containing donated gifts which are given to children to take home; as well as a sitting room and two-bedded treatment bays for teenagers.
Dr Ainsworth said: “Since we have all moved on to the same site there is greater flexibility and we don’t have to worry about not having enough medical staff to look after children in three different hospitals.
‘‘The workflow is better and we have a lot more space.
“The staff are very proud of what they do and while many have very fond memories of Forth Park Hospital and miss it as a workplace - they realise we have something which is so much better now.”
Mrs Clacher added: “Having the outdoor play area for children and the high dependency unit here has made a big difference.
‘‘Everyone is part of the whole team effort and we are all proud to work here at this hospital.”