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Friday, 22 October 2021
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World-class Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Units open

THIS week, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and its charity CW+, officially open a state-of-the-art expansion and redevelopment of its Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which will enable the treatment of more than 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 our ICU due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With construction phases complete, the capacity of the new ICU unit has increased by 45%, allowing the Trust to care for an additional 500 patients per year. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has expanded by 40%, providing specialist care to 150 more babies every year, as well as providing better clinical space and family facilities.

Thanks to Julia and Hans Rausing and other generous donors, the Trust has 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 development of the new ICU has been based on extensive research with the acoustics, lighting, layout, and furnishing having all been 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 the latest sensor technology to monitor patients’ health, progress and environment.

The new NICU unit – made possible by generous 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 provide additional space and privacy around each one – so staff can treat babies with their parents close by, while also reducing the risk of infection, to which premature babies are particularly vulnerable. 

The unit, designed to offer a ‘home from home’ environment, is equipped with the latest technology to facilitate improved healing conditions for the babies, including adaptive circadian rhythm lighting, which matches the needs of human biological cycles and can be individualised for each baby. 

Sophie Aubreton and her one-year-old son, Louis, both former patients of the new units, participated in the official opening. Sophie caught COVID-19 when she was 29 weeks pregnant and ended up in intensive care, where her son Louis was born by emergency caesarean section two days later. Sophie was a patient in the Adult ICU for three weeks, and her son spent the first eight weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Sophie said:

“I cannot thank the amazing ICU and NICU teams at Chelsea and Westminster enough – they literally saved our family. I was in sedated and ventilated for a total of 15 days, after which I received specialist care, including speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and psychological support from the dedicated ICU psychology team. I am so grateful that I was looked after by such an incredible team in the amazing, new facilities.”

The aim of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has always been to build an optimum template for critical care services. The Trust is delivering on this ambition to improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs, improve efficiency, reduce risks for patients, and influence and set a new benchmark for critical care facilities throughout the NHS nationally and internationally.

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive Officer 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 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.”

World-class Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Units open

Chris Chaney, Chief Executive Officer 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 whilst 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.”

Julia and Hans Rausing, after whom the new adult intensive care unit is named, said:

“Over the past year, we have all seen the amazing care that doctors and nurses have given to patients at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, under the most difficult and trying of circumstances. We hope that this new intensive care unit will further enhance the quality of care provided and allow even more people to benefit from the expertise of the wonderful doctors and nurses at the hospital.”

The Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation, after whom the new neonatal intensive care unit is named, said:  

“Congratulations to the team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for the opening of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation is heartened to be part of the hospital’s commitment and dedication in providing consistent and excellent care for your patients. Our family believes in supporting advances and innovations in health, medical research and education. By supporting Chelsea and Westminster Hospital with the NICU, we hope to strengthen its efforts and commitment to improving child health, to bring a healthier tomorrow for the future generations of the UK.”

For further information, please visit: www.cwplus.org.uk.

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