A new rehabilitation garden has been created in the centre of Leicester Royal Infirmary to help Intensive Care patients to access open space and fresh air during their stay, thanks to the generous money raised by families and friends of patients that were treated at the IC unit.
The garden has been designed to allow wheelchairs and hospital beds to access the open spaces and provide a calm and peaceful environment away from the clinical ward.
Zoe Bradley, one of the Senior Sisters on the IC unit, has been the driving force to make the garden a reality. Zoe worked closely with the Therapy Team to identify ways to improve the quality of rehabilitation the hospital can offer to patients.
“Gardens like these have proven to have significant mental health and well-being benefits,” she said. “Rather than it being a place to just sit, I envisioned an area to be used functionally, through raised planters, for patients to be able to actively participate in the use of the space to potentially be involved in making craft in the garden and decorating it for significant events such as religious holidays, national and local celebrations.”
Tracey Edwards whose son Ellis was at the IC unit before he passed in February 2021 was at the recent opening of the garden on Wednesday, July 5.
“I’m so overwhelmed and emotional to see after two years of fundraising by Ellis’ close friends to have this outside space for ICU patients and their families,” she said.
“It’s a visible reminder of all the fundraising effort that everyone has been involved in and somewhere to remember Ellis.”
Ellis White was a patient at Leicester’s General Hospital’s Renal Unit when receiving treatment and care following a kidney transplant and then was cared for by the IC unit at the LRI when he contracted Covid-19.
Family and friends of Ellis raised over £43,000 for Leicester Hospitals Charity through bike rides, London Marathon, and other fundraising activities, which help fund the garden in time for the NHS 75th Birthday.
Another fundraiser was Andrew Corney who along with his colleagues from PA Housing raised over £3000 in memory of his beloved wife Laila, who was a patient in the IC unit as well.
Andrew said: “This garden for me is a place I can remember Laila, who I know would have loved this space if it was available. It’s been emotional to see some of the staff who took care of her. I am pleased that this space is available for others to enjoy in her memory.”
During the garden opening on the NHS 75th Birthday, Zoe and her colleagues invited guests from patients’ families who have been fundraising and colleagues from the hospital.
She was so pleased with the support. “Thank you to everyone involved to make this happen, I’m overwhelmed to see this garden finally here,” she said.