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ICU opens doors to new visitor space

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This week marks the official opening of a newly refurbished visitor space in the ICU department of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, alongside a brand new purpose built reception area. The £1 million investment improves the experience for families and friends who are there every step of the way with some of the hospital’s most clinically vulnerable patients.

Work started in 2022, and is making a difference already. The new reception, right outside the ICU on the 3rd floor of the hospital’s South Block, is modern and welcoming, and means family and friends are now greeted by staff face to face rather than being buzzed in via Intercom which was the case before. They are friendly faces in very stressful times, providing a human touch.

Patients in the ICU department can be in hospital for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. Families often visit every day for many hours at a time, and need a space where they can be away from the clinical areas, rest and regroup to look after themselves while they are supporting their loved one. The new visitor area is bright and airy with lots of natural light, comfortable seating, and refreshment facilities, supported by donations from Royal Berks Charity. Alongside this there is also a new ‘bedroom’ available for families who may need to stay overnight, including an ensuite bathroom.

Fenella Derbyshire, ICU Directorate Manager who has been overseeing the refurbishment said, “It’s great to see the finished result after months of hard work from many people. It’s important to all of the staff in the department that our patients receive the best possible care. And now that can extend to their family and friends too, in how we welcome them when they first arrive, and the facilities they have while they are here.”

Steve McManus, Chief Executive said, “It was great to see the new facilities and hear from the team about the difference the investment we have put in is already making to the families and friends coming to ICU to visit their loved ones in our care.

“My background is as an Intensive Care nurse, and I know just how much it helps patients to recover when they have their family and friends with them. I hope this space gives visitors to the department somewhere to regroup, and that it allows them to focus their energies on supporting their loved ones as they take each step towards recovery.”