Patients get a sense of home during their stay at University Hospital Llandough

Patients requiring hospital care and treatment for a mental health illness now have a homely and comfortable environment in which to recover.

Late last year patients moved from Iorweth Jones Centre in Llanishen and Ward East 16 at University Hospital Llandough (UHL) to the refurbished Llanfair Unit based at UHL which has transformed its wards to become a place of healing and recovery.

Llanfair Unit which is home to Daffodil and Meadow wards, opened its doors to showcase its new areas which have been designed following patient consultation. Daffodil ward is a 16 bed ward which provides care for patients over 65 and Meadow ward provides care for adults over the age of 18.

The Refocussing Nurses and staff on the wards have worked tirelessly to raise funds to create the new environments through bake sales and fayres which have enabled the ward to purchase items to create these areas.

Purchases have included fire places, a record player, table cloths and centre pieces to make the dining room more homely. A visitor’s café has been created complete with coffee machine so families and carers can visit their loves ones away from the traditional ward environment and enjoy a coffee and a chat.

A ‘comfy corner room’ has also been created to reflect the traditional home environment to make service users feel more relaxed. Patients also have access to a bespoke beauty salon where they can have their hair and nails cared for. All of these areas are created to give a sense of normality and home life to patients and take them away from the clinical environment of a hospital.

Julie Watts, Daffodil ward manager, said, “When patients are on our wards they can be in for long periods of time so we want to make the environment as comfortable as possible which will help their health and wellbeing and in turn their recovery process.

“Staff on the unit have worked very hard to turn a blank canvas into a fantastic homely unit. Within three months they’ve developed a beauty salon, a cosy snug and a music and activity area which have created so many benefits for our patients.”

To complement the new areas murals were also commissioned from local artist Stacey Brass who painted three bespoke paintings for the sitting rooms on each ward and the area between the wards. This artwork was funded through the Make it Better Fund from the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity which provides funding to improve services for patients. Artwork is known to improve health and wellbeing and can enhance recovery rates and engagement of patients and visitors.

Heather Hancock, Deputy Directorate Manager for Adult Mental Health Services said, “The creative art project was in two phases, starting with pictures put up in the bedrooms and communal rooms on the wards. Shortly after, we commissioned Stacey to paint our three murals.

“Patients and staff have commented very positively on the artwork, specifically that it brightens the area up and makes the ward environment more relaxing. Everyone visiting the unit comments on the warm and homely feel and this is a testament to the staff who have helped to create it.”

Mike Jones, Chair of the Make It Better/Staff Lottery Panel, said, “I am very pleased that members of the staff lottery have contributed to this excellent work by the Mental Health Clinical Board and the staff at the Llanfair Unit. It’s a privilege to work with our donors to enhance the healthcare of Cardiff and Vale patients.”