Royal Oldham NICU
1st September 2016
When Elijah Ashton was born 15 weeks early at the Royal Oldham Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), he weighed just 822 grams. His parents said that the staff in the NICU ‘were amazing; they are more like a family and genuinely have real joy at every bit of progress the babies make’. During the three months spent at Elijah’s cot-side, teachers Gill and Matthew had time to think about what they could do for the unit in return for the outstanding care the nurses and staff give to all of the babies during their first critical months in intensive care.
Gill and Matthew decided to try and raise some money to improve an area within the NICU that was dark and depressing. Without any natural daylight the room had been dubbed ‘the cave’.
Matt who is also an entertainer and singer was able to call on friends; two singers, a magician, a comedian and a compare and a fund raising evening was organised. Prizes for a raffle were donated by local companies and the evening was a huge success, exceeding their expectations and raising a substantial amount of money.
In early May, Ward Matron Lynn Bowe contacted Wardray Premise’s design department and spoke to Nicci Trotman regarding purchasing some Relax & View® Light boxes for ‘the cave’. The six cot room was the transitional ward before going home. As the babies improve they move from the intensive care area to this adjacent room. Lynn explained that this was meant to be a happy time when the parents are preparing and looking forward to finally taking their babies home. Sadly the room, although recently built, was dark and dismal and far from an inspiring and positive place to spend days at a time. Nicci visited the hospital to measure up and realised that the light boxes needed to make an impact to really improve the ambience in the dark room.
To keep costs to a minimum, Wardray’s Production Manager Gary Colquhoun worked during his own time to prepare and assemble the LED units; with a Sky image for the ceiling, from Wardray’s extensive 'Relax & View® Image Collection' and a Woodland scene, for the walls, sourced externally, to help make this a better healing environment for the premature babies, their parents and the staff. This unusual order, funded by parents, struck a chord with many of the staff at Wardray and everyone did what they could to ensure that the project was delivered within budget.
Wardray’s slim LED wall panels have an 18mm powder coated, satin black frame and measure 841mm x 1189mm (A0) with an overall depth of 20mm. Other sizes and frame finish are available. The LED ceiling tiles fit a standard 600mm square suspended ceiling grid and layout options comprise of a single unit, two, three, four, six, nine, twelve and sixteen way. A 1200mm x 600mm is also available and Wardray offer a larger single non-grid ceiling panel up to a maximum size of 1500mm x 1500mm (subject to site suitability). The LED panels are environmentally friendly, containing no harmful mercury or other heavy metals and consume 70% less power than a T5 fluorescent lamp.
After the installation of the Relax & View® wall and ceiling lightboxes, Gary, Nicci and colleague David Davies met Lynn, her deputy Yvonne Fletcher, the nurses (who had also cared for Elijah whilst he was in the NICU), and Gill and Matthew - the parent fundraisers, with their sons Elijah, now 1 year old and his big brother Lewis, 8 years old. It was the first time the parents had seen the transformation and they were really impressed with the difference. Gill said that ‘the room looks bright and fresh and the images give the feeling of a new day, a fresh start which is a positive feeling that you need if you’re in hospital for a long time’.
Lynn said that premature babies don’t open their eyes for quite a while but still need to get used to the rhythm of day and night. With a dimmer facility on both the wall and ceiling units they are able to simulate this more naturally than previously with the overhead lighting. She added that ‘it’s made such a positive difference working in the room now’.