Enhanced Care for West Lothian’s Youth

by Catriona Conway-Mortimer

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

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CHILDREN and young people in West Lothian have recently seen their quality of care improve thanks to £35,000 funding from a well-respected charity.

St John’s Hospital in Livingston has undergone significant changes to the play areas in the children’s ward after they were redesigned and upgraded, to help meet the specific needs of children receiving treatment on site.

These enhancements have all been made possible thanks to funding from the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

Lynn Haddow, Senior Charge Nurse at St John’s Hospital’s Children’s Ward, said: “The play area has been entirely transformed. It’s far brighter and is more interactive and enticing now, with modern technology such as Xboxes and Kindles, as well as arts and crafts areas so the kids can get creative.

“We needed toys that would suit or interest children of all ages up to 15 and provide a quick-fix play either for those who would be using the space as a waiting room for just five or ten minutes.

“The revamp of the soft play has had a key focus on being a therapeutic area, too. We worked closely with the architect to ensure children could freely express any anxieties or stresses that they might be feeling in a safe environment. “

ECHC, thanks to the work of its supporters and fundraisers, raised a herald-worthy £35,000 to put towards the project.

Lynn continued: “None of this would have been possible without the support of ECHC. Not only have they invested substantial sums of money, but with their fresh pair of eyes they’ve helped us to come up with new and innovative ideas of how to entertain the children on the ward.

“I’ve worked at the hospital since it first opened in 1989 and ECHC has really transformed it since it started working with us 13 years ago.”

Rosyln Neely, Chief Executive Officer of ECHC, said: “It’s essential that children in hospital don’t miss out on the fun of being a child. We do all we can to ensure that their lives are less interrupted by illness.

“As many children need to spend significant amounts of time at the hospital, distractions and entertainment that take away from the clinical feeling of a hospital are of paramount importance.

“There’s a perception that we only work within the city, but in fact we are heavily involved in projects wherever children are treated. We’ve been working with St John’s Hospital in West Lothian for over a decade now and are very proud of what we have achieved together.”

Lynn’s praise comes following ECHC launching a new campaign within the West Lothian community to help raise at least £7000 for a state-of-the-art new ultrasound probe to be installed at St John’s Hospital, Livingston, which experts say will help put youngsters at ease when being examined.

Medics say a new ultrasound probe designed specifically for children would bring benefits on multiple levels for youngsters who require a scan. The current scanning probe in use at the hospital is not tailored only to meet the needs of children.

New equipment would also deliver superior images and improve diagnostic quality and would mean that children can receive scans closer to home.

Children and young people are referred for a scan for a number of different reasons. These range from head scans for neonatal babies, kidney scans for urine infections to scans on other parts of the body to check out lumps and other problems.

Roslyn continued: “This latest project to raise money for a Paediatric Ultrasound Probe is exactly the kind of project we love to be involved in and we are sure the community across West Lothian will get fully behind such a worthwhile cause.

“I encourage individuals, schools and businesses within West Lothian to get involved in any way they can. Those needing some inspiration can find a list of activities and events that anyone can get involved on our website.”

Anyone who is interested in organising or holding a fundraising event can contact the fundraising team on 0131 668 4949 or [email protected] and will be provided with a helpful pack that offers a host of guidance, tips and advice.

Following a record-breaking 2016 which saw it raise more than £1.8m, ECHC was able to provide 82 grants across east central Scotland, which included funding for the Craniofacial team at St John’s to attend a world leading course on their field of surgery.

Other projects the charity have funded at the hospital include a vein finding piece of equipment, as well as many toys, stickers, and certificates for the children’s ward, which help the staff to keep children positively focused.

Over the past 13 years, grants from ECHC have also enabled improvements to the play, waiting and consulting areas in the Out Patient Department, the creation of a new soft play area in the children’s ward, the purchase of a pediatric echo/ultrasound machine and the funding of staff visits to Shriners Burns Unit in Galveston, Texas to advance clinical knowledge.

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Catriona Conway-Mortimer, account executive with Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Catriona Conway-Mortimer

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