At Grosvenor, we’re very aware how difficult a hospital visit can be for anyone, but for children, and their parents, it can be a particularly frightening time, so we’re glad we’re able to play a part in making the experience a little less daunting for those involved.
One such example is a project that we completed at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
David Hanna, Clinical Lead for the Paediatric Emergency Unit, explained that the team had received feedback from children and families that highlighted the need for improving the department: “The waiting room is in need of decoration”, “general décor and materials look tired and worn”, “Needs a bit of a freshen up”.
Having heard that other parts of the hospital had been improved with the help of the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity, David contacted Simone Joslyn from the charity who, in turn, initiated contact with Grosvenor Interiors.
David explains: “We deliver care in a clinical area which is part of an emergency department. But it’s not a bespoke paediatric unit so the built-in environment is not how you would design it for children. We needed to create an environment that puts children and their families at ease and which is also pleasant for staff to work in.
It needed to be culturally relevant and to resonate with our local population. Children and families are often worried or scared about coming to hospital and we need to do everything we can to reassure them and ensure they have a positive experience.
Together with Grosvenor we set about designing artwork to include landmarks, buildings and features of the local environment that would be familiar with children and families from Cardiff and South Wales. We also got input from members of the Cardiff and Vale Health Youth Board who contributed to the designs and made some useful suggestions.
We included things like the Millennium Stadium, Barry Island beach huts, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Pen y Fan and the Wales Air Ambulance in our treatment cubicles – even Roath Lake – with its lighthouse, geese and fish in the lake.
We’ve even integrated our dragon mascot, which was designed by the child of a member of staff. The team at Grosvenor digitised the dragon and he now features in our artwork and departmental paperwork.
Grosvenor also designed a bespoke height chart featuring our dragon mascot on the wall (which is traditionally just a metre stick with increments) which children can stand against to be measured and it introduces a little bit of fun to their visit.
All the time we were trying to provide something interesting for children and families to look at but to also send a message that this is “their” department: the Cardiff Paediatric Emergency Department
Since the makeover, feedback from children and families has been extremely positive: “The Paediatric A&E looks amazing, such bright new colours”
The team of the Paediatric Emergency Department also love it. “We strongly felt the designs needed to be relevant for our patients and wanted to be involved in creating the new artwork. We definitely caused a few headaches for Grosvenor but we are so glad they were able to bring those elements in!”
Since the transformation, it’s great, a much better place to be in. It’s a nicer place to work, brighter and people comment on it as they come through the department. The appearance of the department now reflects the expertise of the team who work there: it looks and feels like a professional paediatric emergency unit, which is also noticed by the other clinical teams who visit.
The process itself was very smooth: the contractors were great as was the process of sharing information backwards and forwards. If anything, we were the difficult party!! We made quite a few changes as we engaged patients and staff in the design and the guys at Grosvenor were very patient with us!”
David feels that without a doubt it has helped staff morale. “The staff feel that they are being invested in and that’s really important: it sends a signal to the team that what they do is valuable and worth the investment”.
Simone Joslyn, Head of Cardiff & Vale Health Charity added “It has been proven that our environment can have a fundamental effect on our behaviour whilst receiving care. Creating a space that provides a better experience for patients, children, young people and their families is paramount to helping nurture a comforting and more relaxing stay. At Cardiff & Vale Health Charity we’re thrilled to see the bright and colourful vinyls uplifting the walls within the department, and hearing the positive feedback they’ve already had makes it all worthwhile. We’re proud to have been able to support this fantastic project through our Staff Lottery funding, and through our partnership with Nathaniel Cars who also donated generously.”
We asked David if the team’s initial objectives had been achieved and were delighted at his reaction: “Even more so. Our expectations were surpassed. We think it’s fantastic. Signing off on the designs felt like a leap of faith because it’s difficult to grasp on paper or computer screen how it’s going to look, but it looks even better than we hoped: it’s fantastic; we couldn’t be happier.
We hope to do more work in the future as we transform our service. We’d like to keep the themes that we’ve got from Grosvenor so when the time comes, we’ll reach out and hopefully do more work together”.