Today (Friday 17 June 2022) George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust welcomed the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, who officially opened their new Serenity Garden, a rehabilitation garden designed to help prepare stroke and dementia patients for discharge.
The aim of the garden is to provide essential support to patients’ recovery by providing a safe and purpose-built space where they can gather their thoughts and come to terms with their diagnoses as well as receive physical therapy.
Speaking at the launch Glen Burley, Chief Executive Officer for George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust said: “We are pleased to welcome the Secretary of State and all our other guests here today to see first-hand this fantastic new facility which we are sure will support many patients in their rehabilitation.
“The effects of stroke and dementia are often profound with long term physical, psychological and social implications. Some patients can require inpatient hospital care which can be a disorientating and upsetting experience.
“The Serenity Garden has been purpose built to help make our patients journey home as easy as possible. The garden will allow patients, supported by or staff, to increase their confidence, become more independent and recover mobility alongside improving their health and mental well-being.”
The Secretary of State, who attended alongside the Member of Parliament for Nuneaton, Marcus Jones and the Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire and Bedworth, Craig Tracey said at the opening: “‘This innovative Serenity Gardens project is the first of its kind in the country and provides a great example of personalised care in the NHS.
‘’We want a society where every person with dementia or those who have a stroke are receiving high quality and compassionate care, and their families and carers are supported. This project is representative of that vision.
‘’The government is continuing its work on addressing the needs of people with dementia, which we will set out in our 10-year dementia plan in the coming months. This will level up healthcare across the country so everyone has the chance to live longer and healthier lives, wherever they come from and regardless of their background.’’
Dr Catherine Free, Chief Medical Officer for George Eliot Hospital spoke on what the garden means to staff and patients: “We are delighted with this garden which is a testament to the passion our staff have for patient care and displays all of the values we have at George Eliot.
“I think you can see how proud we are to be inspired by our colleagues who see first-hand what our patients need and then work harder to create better ways to care for them.
“On behalf of the hospital, I’d like to thank everyone that made this possible, our colleagues, the patient forum, the donors and George Eliot Charity who have all worked together to build this space.”
The Serenity Garden is split into two areas. The stroke rehabilitation area helps patients navigate real-world obstacles which mirror navigation around crowded areas, such as ramps and uneven surfaces, in a safe and controlled environment.
The Dementia therapy area incorporates wheelchair accessible raised flower beds arranged with specially selected plants to stimulate sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. There is also a dementia friendly pathway designed as an infinity loop to provide a sense of direction as patients walk through the area.
A bespoke lodge sits at the heart of the garden which is able to accommodate hospital beds, wheelchairs and able-bodied patients who can make use of specialist equipment to aid muscle building, concentration and fine motor skills.
George Eliot Hospital would like to recognise that this project would have not been possible without the generous support of over 160 donors including staff, individuals and businesses in the local and wider community.