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Children and families benefit from new waiting area in A&E at RLI

Children who need to attend the Accident and Emergency Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) now have an attractive new waiting area designed to improve their care, safety and experience while in hospital.

The Children’s Waiting Area in the A&E is a bright, welcoming and relaxing room for children and families with space for social distancing and toys that can be easily cleaned for the prevention of infections such as COVID-19.

The development in the A&E also includes a Children’s Triage Room and three new Ambulatory Assessment Bays, one of which is specifically designed to be more welcoming for children.

Lancashire-based company Pinnington Ltd worked on the build and kindly donated some of the finishing touches of the work to support the local NHS.

Richard Vallely, Service Manager for Acute and Emergency Medicine at UHMBT, said: “I think our new Children’s Waiting Area is an excellent facility. We have made the very best of the space we have. It is nice and colourful with a welcoming atmosphere.

“Having a separate Children’s Waiting Area is safer and more comfortable for children as they can be protected from some of the more serious cases that are sometimes seen in the adult area.”

The development of the new Children’s Waiting Area came about following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) recommendation for a new dedicated specialist waiting area so that children would not have to wait in the area for adults. There had been a children’s waiting area in the A&E at Lancaster before the pandemic but it had to be used for other purposes due to various department moves that needed to take place to manage the COVID-19 situation. This new facility is a considerable upgrade on the pre-pandemic facility.

Parents and guardians who are bringing a child to the A&E in Lancaster now get booked in and a paediatric nurse collects them and takes them through to the Children’s Waiting Area. The room, which is bigger than the previous room, has a TV playing children’s channels.

The separate Children’s Waiting Area is also better for staff as, if there is only one child and their family in the A&E, they can talk things through in a pleasant and calm environment.

The improvements to the Children’s Waiting Area reflect the Trust’s main priority areas for 2021/2022 which are providing high quality and safe care for patients, improvement of services and supporting the wellbeing of colleagues.

Paul Kershaw and Paul Coward from the Capital Services Team managed the complicated scheme which was split into a number of phases and had to be completed while the surrounding areas remained operational and very busy throughout.

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