Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and its charity, CW+, have officially open a ‘state-of-the-art’ expansion and redevelopment of the Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
It will enable the treatment of over 2,000 critically ill adults and babies every year. The first phase of the Adult Intensive Care Unit was fast-tracked to open in March 2020 to treat the increased number of patients being cared for in the Trust’s ICU due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With construction phases complete, the new ICU unit’s capacity has increased by 45 per cent, allowing the Trust to care for an additional 500 patients per year. The NICU has expanded by 40 per cent, to enable it to provide specialist care to 150 more babies every year, as well as better clinical space and family facilities.
The Trust said: “Thanks to Julia and Hans Rausing and other generous donors, we have been able to develop world-class ICU facilities with a first-of-its-kind patient-led approach to care. The new unit aims to significantly improve critically ill patients’ recovery and wellbeing by creating optimal healing environments, and incorporating the latest innovations and digital solutions that can be personalised to reduce anxiety, pain, and stress.”
The new ICU’s development has been based on extensive research, with the acoustics, lighting, layout, and furnishing, ‘all selected for the patient’s brain, body, and senses, to rest and heal more effectively’. The ‘patient-focused environment’ includes, for example, media screens to enable engagement with the hospital’s ‘arts in health’ programme and contact with family and friends, noise-reducing equipment, and sensor technology to monitor patients’ health, progress, and environment.
The new NICU unit – made possible by charitable support from the Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation ‘and other generous supporters’ – has expanded to increase not only the number of cots, but also to provide additional space and privacy around each one – so staff can treat babies with their parents close by, while also reducing infection risk. Designed to offer a ‘home from home’ environment, the unit is equipped with technology including adaptive circadian rhythm lighting, which matches the needs of human biological cycles and can be individualised for each baby.
Lesley Watts, CEO at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really proud moment for our Trust, and a huge achievement, especially during these challenging times. So many people have been involved in the redevelopment, and I can’t thank our staff, partners, CW+, and our incredible donors enough for helping create this pioneering, modern, and patient-centred critical care service in the UK.
“The new Julia and Hans Rausing ICU has already played such an important role in helping to deal with the pressures of COVID-19, and the expansion reinforces the hospital’s reputation as a centre of excellence and innovation. We are proud that we can extend our level of care to help treat hundreds more critically ill adults and babies each year.”
Chris Chaney, CEO at CW+, said: “We launched our £12.5 million Critical Care Campaign in 2017 to help transform our ICU and NICU, and are indebted to our supporters, who enabled us to achieve our fundraising goal in just two years. We are so incredibly grateful to our friends, partners, and the local community, who made our shared vision to create these world-class facilities come true.
“These new facilities bring together our core strengths in digital innovation, environment and design, and testing and scaling the latest clinical technologies. Our ongoing research and evaluation will continue to inform the all-important work we are doing today, while taking us forward into a new phase of health and care service design. As a charity, our ambition is to support our Trust during this period of profound change across the NHS – with research, discovery, and innovation remaining at the forefront of our next generation of plans to develop cutting-edge clinical services, which will include supporting the mental health of young people, and the remote care of older people across our community in the year ahead."