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Welcoming new visiting spaces for the families and friends of older adults have been opened at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.

Funded by Fife Health Charity, the visiting areas in wards one and four are designed to provide welcoming areas for visitors to meet with loved ones distinct from the traditional ward setting. 

The spaces are split into three distinct areas – a café environment where patients can enjoy teas, coffees, and pastries with loved ones from a special menu, a TV area where they can catch up on their favourite shows or watch live events with others, and a quiet place for a more relaxed and low-key visiting experience.

The new visiting spaces were all designed by local artist, Karen Masters, in collaboration with staff and patients. Karen has previously worked with NHS Fife to create a dementia friendly recovery area to minimise any anxiety or distress felt by older patients following surgery. She said her aim was to create a calming environment.

“The area was given three zones. The first includes a cafe based on spring in the Glen, with cherry blossom imagery and daylight sky panels bringing the outside. The second is a sitting room area where patients can watch tv with the furniture providing some privacy using high back wing armchairs, whilst still being visible to the ward staff. Finally, the quiet reading area is an opportunity to engage with music with various genres being provided on memory sticks, as well as bespoke playlist for life playlists. The theme for this area is the Highlands, with imagery of Eilean Donan Castle and forest green seating providing a small haven away from the busy ward.”

Jamie Hinley is acting senior care charge nurse on ward one. She said: “Wards one and four support adults over the age of 65 with acute mental health challenges and patients tend to stay for longer periods of time. We wanted to create a visiting space that felt like you weren’t in a hospital, where patients and their loved ones could form positive memories during their time with us. 

“The feedback is already positive, and families really appreciate feeling that they can take their relative away from the ward and into a more social or relaxed setting. Last week we even used the new space to put on a tea dance for our patients, which was a great afternoon for everyone.”

Lisa McCormack’s father, Joe, is a patient on ward one and cut the ceremonial opening ribbon. She said: “The team on ward one makes me feel so welcome and take excellent care of my dad. I miss being at home with my dad, cuddling on the couch and watching TV. However, the new visiting space has allowed us to do this together again”.

Fife Health Charity director, Mark McGeachie, said: “This is a fantastic example of the difference that Fife Health Charity grants make for people supported by NHS Fife and Fife Health & Social Care Partnership. Our grants would not be possible without the kindness and generosity of people across Fife whose donations are helping us to make a positive difference for patients, NHS Fife staff and communities throughout the Kingdom. Alongside donations, this particular project is a result of the dedication, passion and vision of staff working in and supporting Wards 1 and 4 at Queen Margaret Hospital.”