A new £4.6million ward on Wearside for older people with mental health problems is set to open to the public for a sneak preview this week.
The 18-bed Cleadon ward at Monkwearmouth Hospital will provide treatment and assessment for older people who have conditions such as anxiety, depression and psychosis.
Specialist features in the ward include an enclosed courtyard, with softer ground, to try to limit injury should someone fall; a raised flower bed so patients who have difficulty getting about can tend plants as part of occupational therapy; and wider corridors with anti-ligature handrails to ensure patient safety.
Members of the public and representatives from local groups are invited to have a look around the new ward during an open day on Friday, between 10am and 4pm.
It is the latest project by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, one of the country’s largest mental health and learning disability trusts.
Other sfeatures of the new facility include individual bedrooms that have a direct line of sight to en-suite bathrooms, so patients feel at ease with their new surroundings and easy access to other resources in Monkwearmouth Hospital, such as the events room - which is decked out to resemble an old cinema- a hairdressing salon and activity kitchen.
The ward, adapted from what used to be Old Mill Cottage, replaces the 18-bed ward Rosewood ward in Hopewood Park and will work alongside the dementia unit of Mowbray and Roker ward, the challenging behaviour unit of Marsden and the Grange Day Unit already on the Monkwearmouth Hospital site to form a specialist Older Person Centre.
Clinical nurse manager Rob Bailey said: “Many of the older people we care for have experienced loss - whether that’s the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or their independence - something that can trigger mental health problems later in life.
“And because older people can also have significant physical health needs, it’s great that we now have somewhere purpose-built that can accommodate both these factors.
“Around the ward we’ve alluded to sights from around the south of the Tyne - from South Shields to Roker Lighthouse and Ryhope - so we believe the Cleadon ward will be a really comfortable place for people to get better in.
“Both the patients and the staff are really excited about moving in.
“It’s a very specialised yet welcoming place, and this shows NTW’s dedication to providing the best possible care for anyone who needs us.”