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Refurbished EAU
Brantham ward reopens after extensive work
27 November 2017

A vital assessment unit at Ipswich Hospital has reopened following an extensive project to improve its facilities and refurbish it to the highest dementia-friendly standards.

Pictorial signs and colour-coded walls have been introduced on the 20-bedded Brantham Ward to help patients find their way, while bed areas have been decluttered, bathrooms and lighting improved and calming artwork added. In addition to the dementia-friendly work, a four-bedded observation bay has been created, complete with cardiac monitors, as well as a private side room so that staff can provide dedicated care to patients at the end of their lives.

A psychiatric assessment room has also been added, along with an informal quiet room to give patients who have recently received a diagnosis a comfortable space to ask questions and spend time with their families.

Improvements have also taken place in the Brantham Assessment Area, where patients undergo tests before a decision is taken on whether to admit or discharge them. More space is now available for trolleys, while an improved ambulatory care area has also been created for patients who do not need a bed and are able to receive treatment in a chair.

The £800,000 project has been paid for using capital money and more than £100,000 from a generous £1.5m legacy left to the hospital by former patient Peter Gibbons, which has also helped fund refurbishments to the Washbrook, Woodbridge and Stradbroke Wards.

Sarah Watson, urgent and emergency care matron at the hospital, said: “We are really pleased with these improvements, which will further enhance the experience which patients have when receiving care on the Brantham Ward while helping those with dementia to navigate the area more easily.

“Increasing the number of trolleys and recliner chairs which are available for assessment means we can focus on keeping patients out of a hospital bed wherever possible before putting the right care in place to allow them to recover at home. This is not only good news for the patients, but will also help us keep hospital beds free for those in the greatest clinical need.”

The refurbishment means the hospital’s Emergency Admissions Unit (EAU), which is made up of the Brantham Ward, assessment area and neighbouring Capel Ward, has become one of the only dementia-friendly EAUs in the country.