We have proudly opened our doors to a fully redeveloped state-of-the-art ward, with a new respiratory support unit for our patients.
Development on the new unit began in July this year. It came after the respiratory team’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that the former respiratory unit needed significant modernisation.
Patients being treated for serious respiratory conditions will soon be benefiting from an even better level of monitoring and care than before. This will be provided by the newly laid-out unit on ward 24.
The ward includes a respiratory support unit, which has a seven-bed enhanced care unit with increased monitoring facilities. It also boasts several other bed bays and single rooms for patients with less medically intensive requirements.
Respiratory support unit
Vandanda Jeebun, respiratory consultant and department lead: My name is Vandana Jeebun, I’m a chest physician and head of department for respiratory medicine at North Tees Hospital.
Today we’re going to introduce you to our new respiratory support unit which is imminently opening to our patients in the next couple of days.
So this unit is a seven-bedded area which will provide enhanced monitoring and care for our sickest respiratory patients.
As you can see, there are seven single rooms with improved ventilation systems.
One of the key priorities from the outset of the pandemic was to enhance the visibility and visual monitoring of our patients and the layout of this unit with the central nursing desk for ongoing monitoring of our patients really facilitates this.
We also have installed smart glass technology into all our side rooms so we can have, at the touch of a button, full visibility of our patients whilst maintaining dignity and abiding by infection control measures as well.
Maria Lawson, ward matron: In this seven bed respiratory support unit we will have the staffing of two registered nurses, one healthcare assistant, the support from a physiotherapist and also a ward pharmacy team.
Vandana Jeebun: we have state-of-the-art tele-monitoring for our patients so that early deterioration can be recognised and actioned by the staff.
Rachel Teasdale, clinical lead for respiratory medicine: Three of the rooms have ante-rooms to allow the staff to don and doff their PPE safely to reduce any transmission of infection.
Vandana Jeebun: We have increased our oxygen flow four-fold in order to be able to better cater for our patients on respiratory support which have high oxygen demands.
What does the new unit boast?
Dr Vandana Jeebun is a respiratory consultant and departmental lead. She commented: “One of the key priorities from the outset of the pandemic was to improve the visibility of our most seriously ill patients. The layout of the monitoring station and the smart glass technology used in the side rooms really enhance this.
“We also have state-of-the-art tele-monitoring for our patients. It means that any early deterioration can be more quickly recognised and addressed by the team.”
- The new £2.5m respiratory support unit provides improved:
- infection control and isolation facilities
- visibility of patients with new ‘smart glass technology’ around side rooms centred around a nursing monitoring station
- central tele-monitoring and alert technology
- staffing levels
- oxygen supply and ventilation system
Staffing levels have also been increased. Ward matron Maria Lawson commented: “The respiratory support unit will be staffed by two respiratory registered nurses and one healthcare assistant. With the ongoing input from a respiratory physiotherapist, a ward pharmacist, non-invasive ventilation specialist nurses and the critical care outreach team.”
Developing the respiratory support unit
Chief Executive Julie Gillon commented: “The work that the respiratory team has put into creating the unit has been extraordinary. Despite having been through nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the respiratory team worked hand-in-hand with our estates team and architects to meticulously design and build this outstanding unit.”
Next to the new respiratory support unit is ward 25 – another 28-bed respiratory ward. This also already has a pre-existing seven bedded enhanced care unit, with continuous monitoring and similar levels of staffing. Work has already been undertaken to increase the oxygen supply to the ward with similar monitoring technology being installed.
Dr Jeebun explained: “Both wards provide the same level of monitoring and care. The main difference between the two units is the single room layout for enhanced infection control measures on Ward 24. We’ll be further improving the ventilation system soon with estates work also planned.”
NTH Solutions Ltd is the Trust’s project management and improvement office and wholly-owned subsidiary. They have managed the extensive development alongside contractor Geoffrey Robinson Ltd.
A formal opening event will be held in the new year.