The room, which is situated on the children’s ward, is a space for parents to take time out by providing a self-catering facility to make a hot drink and meal or take a shower.
When the room was closed during the pandemic, ward play specialists, Kerry Brunnen and Shelly Hill, saw a perfect opportunity to give the space a much-needed revamp.
“When parents have a poorly child staying with us on the ward, they often don’t look after themselves properly. They’ll sit bedside for hours on end, skip meals or won’t want to trouble a member of staff for a drink to stay hydrated. This room is equipped with a kitchen, seating, TV and a shower room so they can step away from the ward environment and take back some ‘me time’. We felt a makeover would create a space that felt much more relaxing and restful.”
With funding support from Love Your Hospital, the dedicated charity of St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals, the room has been upgraded with a new sofa and two chairs, a two-person dining table, TV, cutlery, crockery and a vibrant wall mural of greenery and cool waters.
The artist, Chloe Dowsett of C.D. Sign and Design, had already painted a wall mural on another unit in the hospital and was approached to work her artistic magic on the children’s ward.
Chloe said, “I welcome any work that will make someone smile and brighten up a space that people may need to rest or relax in. On a personal level, this project on Howard Ward was a special one. I was actually born at St Richard’s in 1989 and my whole family live in the surrounding villages and always have as long as I can remember. The staff are always so thoughtful and I’ve always celebrated the care I have received there.”
Ward staff wanted the mural to be connected to the local area and chose images of West Dean Gardens as inspiration. Chloe was able to incorporate the garden’s flint bridge, Victorian glasshouse and pond surrounded by an array of trees, flowers and plants.
Kerry said, “As play specialists, we’re here to support parents when they’re going through a challenging time and this project has really been at the heart of that. The response from parents, staff and patients has been overwhelmingly positive and our parent’s room has now been transformed from a plain, magnolia room into a beautiful and tranquil space we’re all really proud of.”