Work has Commenced at the UK’s First Bespoke Outdoor Rehabilitation Space

Bailey Partnership

Derriford Hospital’s ICU Garden is to be transformed with the addition of a garden room to help aid patients’ recovery.  

The garden was initially opened in December 2018 as a space which can be used by patients and their loved ones at every stage of their critical illness. It has been invaluable during the pandemic to help patients connect with the outside world and to meet family members, friends and even pets to support their recovery.

Following joint funding from Plymouth Hospitals Charity, University Hospitals Plymouth and NHS Charities Together, the garden will now become the UK’s first bespoke outdoor rehabilitation space.

Generous local community donations have allowed Plymouth Hospitals Charity to fund £250,000 towards this multipurpose space which will be the first of its kind in the country. Giles Blight and Guy Bolt have been actively involved in the project since its inception, which was pre-Covid 19. They both climbed Brown Willy, Cornwall’s highest point to help raise money for the project and have been instrumental in its delivery for the greater good of the local community and as a thank you to the NHS. We are providing Contract Administration, Quantity Surveying, Architecture and Civil and Structural Engineering Services for this pioneering healthcare project. 

At the heart of this project is the creation of a new rehabilitation garden room. This will enable patients to enjoy the natural benefits of the outdoors whilst receiving treatment. It will also improve the capacity of the garden by mitigating against bad weather and elongating visiting times. The room will be equipped with piped oxygen and power as well as skylights and glazed elevations to promote the feeling of bringing the outside in. This will allow patients to be exposed to nature and feel the sun on their face, aiding their recovery and helping give back their sense of self.

The ICU unit typically sees between 3,000 and 6,000 patients each year so this improvement will help many individuals and their families during difficult times.  

The garden itself will be equipped with wide, smooth paths for access and benches and raised flower beds to provide patients and visitors with a sensory experience. 

“We are very passionate about supporting patients in their recovery,” said Specialist Sister, Kate Tantam. “Taking people outside may seem like a small intervention but it’s massive for their mood and quality of life. There is nothing like feeling the cool air outdoors when you’ve been in hospital. It makes you feel normal. By taking people outside, you’re giving people back themselves.

“Our goal is to support rehabilitation for every patient, to make it better for every patient and to provide a fresh air space for every patient. Rehab matters and everybody has a right to rehabilitation.

“This garden also offers us the capacity to provide care outside for patients at every stage of their life, including the ability to support end of life care. This garden room is totally unique and supports our goal as a department to humanise and personalise our patients and their loved ones experience of being in hospital.”

The project is due to be completed in early summer 2022.

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