Published: 11:43, 10 June 2021
| Updated: 12:02, 10 June 2021
A kind-hearted NHS worker has helped to transform a room used by the relatives of seriously ill patients at a hospital in Kent.
Debbie Stansfield, who works as an assistant manager for Macmillan Cancer Support at Maidstone Hospital, alongside two friends, spent £1,800 of their own money on new material for the Intensive Care Unit’s (ICU) relatives’ room.
Before the makeover, the room only had a settee and a bed in it.
Now, thanks to the trio’s generosity, the room boasts two new recliner armchairs, curtains, cushions, wall art, a coffee table, a clock, storage stalls which contain new pillows and blankets, a kettle, a lamp, a radio, a diffuser, and a new cupboard for storing new mugs, as well as refreshments.
The ICU relatives’ room was used for overnight stays prior to the coronavirus health crisis or as a private space where clinicians could talk to family members about the care of their loved one.
Debbie's friends wished to remain anonymous.
It’s not the first time Debbie has carried out a transformation project at the Hermitage Lane site, though.
Having arranged for Kent Fire and Rescue Service to refill the pond in the courtyard garden of the Kent Oncology Centre and then drained and cleaned it herself, she achieved the Macmillan Volunteering Quality Standards last August.
On the project in the ICU relatives’ room, she said: “I was helping out on ICU when it moved to the former Acute Medical Unit during the pandemic.
“I was, not only looking after the staff by ensuring they took breaks and making them refreshments, but also talking to and comforting relatives after they had said goodbye to their loved one just moments before they, sadly, passed away.
“I knew there was a relatives’ room on the original ICU and that it was in need of some tender loving care, so I said I would take a look at it and see what I could do once ICU moved back to its original ward.
“When I looked at it, it was clear it was in desperate need of some creature comforts which I know can make all the difference to relatives during what can be a traumatic time in their life.
"We are extremely grateful to them..."
“I’m so pleased with how the room looks now and that my friends and I were able to help make a difference.”
Maria Crittenden, Matron for ICU, said: “The staff on ICU had wanted to spruce the room up for quite a while but never got round to it and then the pandemic happened.
“Thanks to Debbie and her friends, it is now a space we are proud of.
“What they have done is absolutely amazing.
“We are extremely grateful to them.”