On the day of opening, patient Philip Martin of Helston was among the first patients to be welcomed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Cardiology Unit for an angiogram. After admission at 8am Mr Martin was recovering in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and slice of cake, preparing to return home later that day.
“It’s ideal, there are two of you here in the lounge and when your procedure is finished you can talk to each other. There are people around that you can see just outside the lounge and that you aren’t tying up a bed it is a really good idea.”
Also a patient in the radial lounge was Bryan Trethewey from St Austell also in the unit for an investigative procedure.
It has been excellent, I have been relaxed all day. It is very comfortable and there’s always someone around if you should need them.”
A Radial Lounge differs from a traditional recovery room as patients relax in comfy recliner chairs instead of beds in a purposefully non clinical and calm environment designed to promote a feeling of normality.
Through use of a Radial Lounge patients no longer need to be admitted to an inpatient bed to carry out day case procedures, which means that even in times when bed space is limited across the hospital, such as during the winter months, elective patients can still be treated as planned.
“This is a huge advantage for patients who’ve prepared themselves mentally for their procedure,” explains Tara Dobson, Cardiac Investigation Unit Sister, “as well as practically in relation to time off work, arranging lifts to and from hospital and having support at home afterward.”
In 2016, the first Radial Lounge was opened at Royal Cornwall Hospital with funding from the Cornish Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), part of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity. Since the opening there has been a significant reduction in the cancellations of cardiac day case procedures, an improvement which the team attribute largely to the opening of the lounge on the unit. Now, thanks to support from further donations and fundraising events in aid of CHUF, a second lounge has opened, effectively doubling the capacity in this area.
“Since the first radial lounge opened, The Royal Cornwall Hospital waiting times for procedures such as coronary angiography, angioplasty and elective device implantation has significantly reduced and we expect with a second lounge a further reduction in waiting times and improved patient care,” said Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Trevor Johnston.
An experience-based design approach was adopted for the second development, a method which puts patients, carers and staff at the heart of the design. Looking at the experience of patients as they go through their treatment journey, from a practical as well as emotional perspective, the service ensures that what might have been seen as ‘little things’ in the past will be recognised as an important part of the delivery of high quality care.
Patients have been eager to give their feedback, saying:
“I enjoyed the atmosphere in the Radial Lounge, Very peaceful.”
“Only here a short while, lovely space, great idea, well thought out. Excellent all round. Proper job!”
“As the daughter of the patient, I was made to feel welcome and had a comfortable experience in the Radial lounge. Mum was very relaxed. Nothing was too much trouble, Thank You.”
“The Radial Lounge was bright, comfortable and I felt good I wasn’t occupying a valuable bed, when I didn’t need one.”
A typical day in the Radial Lounges at Royal Cornwall Hospital will now see between 4 and 8 patients admitted for treatment. This increase in capacity will bring further improvement to the service and care provided in the busy Cardiology Unit at the hospital.
“As a speciality, the Cardiology team are absolutely delighted and extremely grateful for the opportunity to develop a second radial lounge following the success of the first. We’re extremely proud to offer these facilities to our patients which, without the generosity of CHUF would not be possible,” added Anola Daniell, Directorate Manager .
A large contribution to the funding of both radial lounges has come from The Stafford Shield Golf Day organised by The Victoria Inn in Threemilestone giving thanks for the care provided to local man Nigel Stafford.
This year’s golf day and auction raised over £14,000 for the CHUF fund towards the new lounge. Mr Stafford received treatment by the Cardiac Team in Truro after being diagnosed with a rare form of Cardiomyopathy “Left Ventricular Non-Compaction” (LVNC) back in 2014.
“One evening, after a 45 mile off-road bike ride I experienced a pain in my upper back. Pulled muscle, probably, I thought. Then a sharp punch between my shoulder blades and the lights seemingly dimmed. When I awoke, I was feeling OK’ish and looking forward to my evening meal. My wife, an experienced nurse specialising in A&E, and ward Sister, had other ideas. I was taken to the local hospital where my resuscitation and treatment began. I was extremely fortunate in that I survived a horrendous arrhythmia,” he added.
Nigel has been in the care of the Cardiac Team since this time and inspired by the care he has received wanted to give something back through supporting the fund which provides additional items for the unit which enable to care to go ‘above and beyond’. Nigel explains;
“I shouldn’t really be here to tell you anything about that evening – but I am. I am because of the phenomenal expertise, care and attention from our wonderful NHS. Initially it was the ED nurses and medics that swiftly diagnosed a problem with my failing heart. I heard the shout “We need help here” and I was surrounded by staff of all shapes and sizes trying their utmost, for me. I can’t remember much else after that as I was sedated and “worked upon. The following day I found myself on CCU where, once again, the staff worked tirelessly, not just for me but for everyone on the ward. From the domestic staff, HCA’s, staff nurses and medics, my/our treatment was second to none. Everyone was so caring and committed – nothing was too much trouble.”
“I’ve been asked a few times why the team at the Victoria Inn and I feel so committed to raising funds for the Cornwall Heart Unit Fund. The reason why, is appreciation of what was done for me, we wanted to give something back, not to buy equipment which is normally funded by the NHS, but for the little things that can make a big difference.”