Caption: Sister Paula Shean is photographed in the Relatives Room on D'Arcy Ward.
26 June 2013
A relatives room has been created on a ward at Colchester General Hospital to enable visitors to relax and speak privately to doctors and nursing staff.
The facility on D'Arcy Ward, a 29-bed acute care of the elderly/medical ward, has been made possible thanks to donations from a specialist seating manufacturer and staff.
Ward Sister Paula Shean said that before the new facility had been created from a former side room, the only option for relatives had been to use her office.
"This was far from ideal because the phone was always ringing and staff would often walk in because they did not realise relatives were inside," she said.
"The new room has a homely rather than clinical feel where relatives can get some peace and quiet.
"It's a comfortable place where doctors and nurses can speak to family members about their loved ones' progress, talk about diagnoses or break bad news.
"It can also be used as a place to relax by the relatives who are spending a lot of time in hospital because their loved ones are very ill."
Mrs Shean said that Kirton Healthcare Group, of Haverhill, Suffolk, had donated five chairs, a coffee table and a bedside cabinet which is being used to store magazines and books. She and her staff were extremely grateful for the kind gesture, she added.
Annaliza Murphy, a nurse who used to work on D'Arcy Ward and is now a pool nurse on the night shift, has donated a two-seater sofa which is in good condition. Mrs Shean has given cups and saucers and a relative has bought a kettle for the room.
When it is not being used by relatives, staff can use the room for case conferences and training sessions.
Beverly Lawrence, Group Managing Director of Kirton Healthcare, said: "We are delighted to have donated the furniture to Colchester General Hospital and are pleased they have been of such huge help in converting the room into something comfortable and relaxing for the relatives of patients.
"The furniture we donated is for high traffic areas, and is, therefore, hard-wearing and long lasting. Because of their ergonomic design, the chairs are extremely comfortable and we are very happy that the room is having such a positive impact on those who are using it."