Great grandmother Rita Freed was the first person welcomed on to the new Henderson Rehabilitation Unit in Thornbury.
The nonagenarian and 15 others transferred from the outdated Henderson Ward at Thornbury Hospital to a new purpose-built facility – now known as the Henderson Rehabilitation Unit – in the town at the weekend.
Rita, who is 96 and has lived in Thornbury for 40 years, said: “This new facility is lovely, the amenities are great; it is going to definitely be an asset for the town”.
Gilbert Roberts, 91, also from Thornbury, was quite excited about the new venture and after arriving at the new unit said: “This is just like a hotel”.
One of the last to leave the hospital was Chris Alcock, 78, from Chipping Sodbury who has been recovering from a stroke since August. “The nurses have tried really hard to make things easier for people on the ward but it has been cramped; I was looking forward to moving”.
Ward manager Rebecca Thomas praised the work of staff in ensuring a smooth transfer and said they are all looking forward to continuing the rehabilitation journey for people like Chris, Gilbert and Rita.
“Chris couldn’t walk when he first came to Thornbury; now he can thanks to the skills and experience of the staff. All the staff are moving with us to the new unit so this, with the much improved environment and facilities, means we can continue to make a difference to people like Chris. We are also able to offer extended visiting hours (11am to 8pm) for families and friends which will be fantastic and we are really pleased that the League of Friends are continuing to support us and will still be providing our daily newspapers and weekly fresh flowers”.
The initiative is led by not-for-profit organisation Sirona care & health which provides high quality community adult and children services across South Gloucestershire.
It has been made possible through the on-going commitment of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) to support schemes providing active rehabilitation for individuals, once medically well, to help them return home after a spell in hospital as soon as possible.
The Unit itself is located within a separate and dedicated area of the new The Orders of St John Care Trust Grace Care Centre and is staffed, managed and registered to Sirona and has been supported by the North Bristol NHS Trust who own the current Thornbury Hospital site.
Cathy Daffada, Sirona’s lead for community inpatient care, said: “Thanks to all the hard work of staff at both Sirona and The Orders of St John Care Trust the move went really smoothly and it is fantastic for individuals in our care and our staff to be in a new purpose built facility.
“The increased space will enable us to give people intensive therapy to help them get home as quickly as possible. We all know being home is best for a person’s rehabilitation and on-going wellbeing. The previous Henderson Ward has served us really well and we will continue to recognise that through naming the new unit the Henderson Rehabilitation Unit; this also maintains its historic links to the famous Grace cricketing family with Cicely Grace (grand-niece of WG Grace) having married Dr Douglas Henderson who served Thornbury for many years”.
Kerry Dearden, deputy chief executive – The Orders of St John Care Trust, said: “We are really pleased to support the community of Thornbury and South Gloucestershire by enabling the use of our new home, Grace Care Centre, for the benefits of individuals to be rehabilitated and then be able to move to their preferred onward location. We look forward to working with Sirona and making the facilities of Grace Care Centre available to their service users and the wider Thornbury community”.
Lisa Manson, Director of Commissioning said “This is a great example of health providers in the community working together to deliver care and support, helping people to stay independent for as long as possible.
“We always want to make sure people can return home as quickly as possible after a hospital stay, and this kind of active rehabilitation care, and new facilities, are crucial in helping us to achieve this”.
Next week will also see the move of Sirona’s physiotherapy outpatient services currently at Thornbury Hospital to the Thornbury Active Lifestyle Centre – to give people the chance to see the new facilities there will be tours of the new clinics on 30 November from 10am to 2pm and a Christmas Bazaar to raise money for the Sirona Foundation, Sirona’s charitable arm.
Pictured: Rita enjoying a cup of tea as first arrival at the new unit with Health Care Assistant Katie Robinson, Advanced Nurse Practitioner Deb Williams and Occupational Therapist Fiona Forsdike and Chris with Sister Jayne Hopton