A room on the children’s ward at North Devon District Hospital has been refurbished thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Care for Kids North Devon charity and the community.
The isolation cubicle on the Caroline Thorpe Ward has been brightened up with coloured panels, beach prints, mood lighting, more family-friendly furniture, a new television with entertainments package and a Play Station 4.
Children with a serious condition who need to be isolated, for example if they are vulnerable to infections, often have to spend weeks in the room and so do their parents.
The revamped room was officially opened by Rebecca Carey and Justeen Easton, two North Devon parents whose daughters Emily and Ellie both spent long periods in the room before they sadly passed away.
The £20,000 refurbishment was made possible thanks to donations from Barnstaple Town Council, Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, Asda’s Green Token scheme and match funding from Santander. Braunton Tug of War purchased the TV, headphones and Playstation 4.
Seaside prints were reproduced with permission from local artist Becky Bettesworth.
Jan Williams is a cystic fibrosis clinical nurse specialist at the hospital. She said: “This is a fantastic environment that will really help children and families who have a long stay on the ward. Some of the children with cystic fibrosis we see can spend up to two weeks on the ward, which can feel like a very long time.
“As well as being a more welcoming environment, the additional entertainment will make what can be a long stay a bit more fun and a bit more homely for families. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this possible.”
Justeen Easton has been involved in the enhancement. She set up the charity Everything Ellie in memory of her daughter, who passed away in March 2015 at the age of 16 following a battle with leukaemia.
Justeen said: “We spent weeks in this room with Ellie before she passed away. The staff did everything they could to make it comfortable for us and it was a room that had everything that was needed clinically, but it didn’t feel welcoming or homely.
“Things like the colours and the lighting give the room a happier mood, and the shelves are great because it means you don’t have to live out of a bag when you’re there for a while. The room looks amazing and I think it’s going to make a big difference. I think Ellie would approve.”
Rebecca’s daughter Emily was aged seven. Her parents had raised money to enable her to have a bath at home, but donated it to Care for Kids.
Rebecca said: “She spent a lot of time on the Caroline Thorpe Ward since she was three weeks old.
“It makes a massive difference if they feel comfortable here and this is just our way of giving a bit back.”