Parents and carers of very sick children on Toni & Guy Ward at King's College Hospital now have their own space to meet, eat, talk and unwind, thanks to a charitable grant designed to support the creation of parent and carer rooms in hospitals.
Parents and carers play a vital role in their child’s care, a role which can often be overlooked.
"We know how important it is for parents to be able to talk about their experiences of having a child in hospital, and know that talking to each other can provide valuable support and reassurance", says Toni & Guy Ward Manager, Kevin Farrell.
"Up until recently, we did not have a suitable space for this to happen."
Toni & Guy is a 15-bed ward situated in the Variety Children's Hospital at King's College Hospital specialising in caring for children with cancer, respiratory and blood conditions.
Ward staff recently asked parents what they needed most to help them cope with the stresses of caring for a sick child, often far away from the rest of the family for weeks or months on end. Using the feedback, the staff devised a plan to transform the existing space into a tranquil 'home from home'.
King's College Hospital Charity successfully applied to the philanthropic True Colours Trust on behalf of the ward, helping them to secure a £19,735 grant from the charity's Breathing Spaces fund.
The Fund was developed in response to parents’ requests for better facilities in hospitals, helping to make families' experiences in hospital more bearable, and creating a space where parents and carers can connect and develop friendships.
The refurbished room now features comfortable seating, dimmable lights, phone and tablet charging points, a TV, plants, and a small kitchen and dining area.
"The room still needs a few finishing touches. The plan is that one of our former patients, who is a student at the Camberwell College of Arts, will hopefully paint a mural for us", Kevin added.
In the meantime, the room is already proving to be a hit. Parent Gemma White describes the room as a "lovely addition to the ward."
"A child-free quiet place to go to relax and gather thoughts, without being too far away from our children. It's a great improvement!"