Children’s visits to the A&E department at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital will become much less stressful thanks to a major new refit.
Play specialists, sensory equipment, along with minor injury treatment areas are among the improvements which have been unveiled.
This is the final stage of a £2 million refit of the Gayton Road hospital’s A&E department over the last 18 months, following concerns which had been raised by the Care Quality Commission.
Paediatric staff nurse Laura Shepherd said the new sensory equipment, which includes fibreoptic strands, blackboards and projectors, has helped with treating children.
She said: “It makes the whole experience 100 times better for the children.
“It is good for us as the children don’t cry when we treat them.
“You know you have done your job right when you get a cuddle at the end.”
Last year the A&E department had 10,000 children through its doors and the new unit now treats children aged up to the age of 16 instead of stopping at 11.
The plain white walls have been replaced with bright colours and sensory lights in the ceilings.
The unit, which is only accessed by swipe cards, now has private triage areas, a play specialist and paediatric nursing staff on duty until 2am.
Consultant nurse Suzan Robinson-Southey said: “Children with injuries now have a dedicated play area with distraction toys and a nurse to help them and their carers feel comfortable.
“We also have a private room for recently bereaved families to use.”
Another improvement to the department is the three minor injury treatment bays, where nurse practitioners look after patients with wounds and other ailments.
Emergency medicine consultant Dr Nam Tong, who manages the 100-staff department, said: “In the old days before four-hour targets, these patients would be left as a low priority and could be waiting up to eight hours.
“That was a source of frustration for people that could be dealt with quite quickly.”
He added that the average wait for patients is now two hours and that the hospital has recruited two extra consultants for A&E.