Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 26 May 2015

In my personal blog, I will keep you up to date on what is happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we are doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive

Over the last couple of weeks two new developments (one very big, one quite small) have happened in the hospital that will help us look after the wider social needs of patients, helping us to treat them as not just a condition, or a disease, but as a whole person.

The first was the official opening of the Ronald McDonald House - which provides accommodation for the families of children who are patients here. Having your child seriously ill in hospital must rank as one of the most stressful events in anyone's life - and I am so pleased that we now have a restful and peaceful environment for parents to stay on the hospital site.

Family accommodation is becoming more and more important, because specialist children's services are increasingly centralized and we now have children in the hospital who live anywhere from Cornwall to Brighton, Milton Keynes to Jersey. It means that we have many children and families who are a long way from home - and for parents who are often trying to juggle caring for other children, as well as holding down jobs, life becomes very difficult and on site accommodation can make a real difference.

For instance, the paediatric renal team wrote to me about the impact that this new facility had on their families:

"All our children requiring a renal transplant have this done at the Evelina Children's hospital.....however as soon as the child is stable they are transferred back to us (within three days on occasions). Initially they have daily bloods and ....the less local families must stay close by to the hospital for at least two weeks.

[the new facility]...makes the service we provide seamless....We prevent an unnecessary overnight admission.....they are on site if they need to be called back....and parents do not have to battle with the Southampton traffic to get to the hospital for an early start and then.....stay here all day in case something is wrong.....we have only had this facility for a short while but already I cannot see how we did it before."

The other development last week was much less grand - but again will make a real difference to some patients.

In contrast to most of our paediatric patients, some of our elderly patients have no family support at all. I know that, Vera Archer, a generic therapy assistant, has been concerned for some time about elderly patients who are leaving the hospital, often to go to a nursing home, who have no clothes of their own. Either their discharge is delayed, or they have to travel in the ambulance in hospital pyjamas, which can be embarrassing and undignified.

Vera's persistence on this issue has been an example to us all -  and she has persuaded all the relevant departments to agree that we can collect donated clothes, which will all be properly washed by the hospital laundry team, ready for any patients who need them. So if you have any spare old clothes (such as jogging bottoms, T-shirts etc), please could you take them to the laundry department (B level, Centre Block) so that we can get this scheme up and running?

So in big and small ways I felt that last week we made progress in caring for some of our most vulnerable patients (the youngest and the oldest) - not just looking after their clinical condition but also treating them as people.

Fiona Dalton


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Page comments

With regard to your request for clothes for elderly people to wear to transfer to a Care Home. I base my comment on my 93 year old Mother and friends' parents. I know tshirts and jogging bottoms are easy to put on but I know various elderly people who would much prefer ordinary trousers (possibly with elasticacted waists), and jumpers or cardigans to your suggestion. Admittedly either choice would be better than nightwear.
Anonymous (21/06/2015 19:43:54)