A new garden has opened at Worthing Hospital for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy as a place of solace and calm.
The Serenity Garden, located by the Penguin Foyer in the hospital, has been completely transformed into a tranquil space that was previously inaccessible to the public.
The hospital’s chaplain, Reverend David Hill and his wife Sandra, commissioned the redesign and creation of the new garden in loving memory of their sons, Jason and Stuart, who sadly lost their lives in a helicopter accident during an excursion to the Grand Canyon in 2018.
David said: “After the tragedy of losing both of our grown-up children, we became aware there were very few places for people in our hospital who have received bad news to sit and ‘be’ without attracting the attention of those nearby. We also wanted to have a place that commemorated Jason and Stuart’s rich lives.”
“For years, I have walked past the Penguin Garden and we started to think about how we could combine our memories to make it a special place for peace and stillness while surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of nature. The idea of a Serenity Garden was born and we were thrilled when the hospital fully endorsed the idea.”
The outside area now provides plenty of benches and ambient lighting nestled amongst newly added plants and trees. Garden designer, Luc Harvengt at Luc Gardens, worked on the brief with David and Sandra to create a ‘woodland experience’ with accessibility and privacy at the heart of the design concept.
Luc said: “We started with the circular seating area right in the middle of the garden which is surrounded by raised beds so that visitors can sit in peace. We planted beautiful tree ferns which are perfect for shady areas and I kept the floor all one level and colour to make it accessible to people with visual impairment and less disorienting for those with cognitive challenges.”
Plenty of room has been created for easy navigation around the garden, incorporating space for visitors with a pushchair or those requiring a wheelchair, use of crutches or a walking frame.
David and Sandra Hill joined by Chief Executive Dame Marianne Griffiths and guests at the garden opening.
The garden also has clever lighting which creates an atmospheric scene at night illuminating the trees and plants. Luc added: “We placed a globe light right in the middle of the garden which is on 24/7. It means even on the darkest days, there will always be a light shining.”
The beloved metal penguins, a familiar feature to hospital visitors who have called the outside space their home for many years, continue to inhabit the garden around the periphery.
David Clayton-Evans, head of charity for Love Your Hospital, the dedicated charity for St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals, said: “This is such an incredible donation and this wonderful gift from David and Sandra has helped to create a lasting space where patients, families and our staff will have a meaningful and beautiful place to visit in the heart of our hospital.”
David Hill said: “Life is not always going to be easy and whether you’re a member of staff, a visitor or a patient feeling bruised by what life has thrown at you, we hope that this garden will make a small contribution to a person’s need for peace, serenity and respite. The Serenity Garden is now open for anyone and everyone and we are humbled to have been a part of providing this place. We hope it will become special to many people in the future.”
A hospital suite designed to give parents a safe haven to stay in after the loss of a baby has been officially opened on the maternity unit at Worthing Hospital on Wednesday 27th February 2019.
The Maple Suite offers a home-from-home environment with a private entrance away from the delivery suite, with its own delivery bed, bathroom, sofa bed, television and kitchenette.
Joined by maternity staff, Love Your Hospital, the Trust’s dedicated charity and local families who had fundraised to support the suite’s development, the Mayor of Worthing cut the ribbon and expressed his heartfelt thanks to all involved.
He said: “We are delighted to be able to open a space within our hospital’s maternity department and it is certainly lovely to see our local families assist with the funding of such a personal space and to see them here with us today.
“On behalf of myself and the Mayoress, we hope that the families that use the space, albeit under emotional and upsetting circumstances, can find the suite homely and as comfortable as possible.”In 2017, one in every 225 births in the UK ended in a stillbirth. On average, nine babies are stillborn every day in the UK, making it 15 times more common than cot death.
For parents, parting with a stillborn baby is the first step in a long and difficult grieving process. A device called a Cold Cot, also available in the suite, provides a temperature-controlled mat placed at the base to keep babies cool and allow parents to spend more time with them.
Juliette Phelan, Maternity Matron for Worthing Hospital said: “Experiencing a stillbirth is so distressing for families and the staff involved. Our vision as a maternity team was to create a quiet, homely and dignified space to enable couples to spend quality time with their baby without being disturbed by the hustle and bustle of our busy labour ward.
“Sadly, the room is in regular use, but we’ve already had some incredible feedback from families who have said it has made such a difference.
“We now have a beautiful space in which we can provide support and care to parents going through a difficult time. I’d like to say a special thank you to everyone who has made the Maple Suite a reality.”
Shelley Kyte, a Clinical Systems Trainer at Worthing Hospital, raised more than £3,500 with her partner Mark towards the suite in memory of their baby girl, Rosie, who was born sleeping on 11 June 2015.
On what would have been Rosie’s first birthday, the couple completed a 100-mile run to provide funds for a new cold cot.
Shelley said: “The day Rosie arrived was also the day our world came tumbling down. After her birth, we stayed with her for a while, but unfortunately could not stay the night which broke our heart.
“We were surrounded by the sound of babies crying in the delivery suite and the happiness of other families as we left hospital without our angel.
“A few months later, we reflected on the care and space available to us and decided to take on a fundraising challenge so other families didn’t to have the same heart-breaking experience we did.”
Brighton-based company, Paxton Access, where Shelley’s partner Mark is an employee, raised more than £4,700 towards the refurbishment.
Paxton CEO, Adam Stroud, said: “A big thanks to Love Your Hospital and to the maternity department for all their support during this period.
“It is fantastic to see the suite opened and we hope that future families that will use it can hold memories of their child that can last forever.”
Pat Davies was admitted to Worthing Hospital A&E after falling seriously ill with sepsis, a serious and life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. “I was moments from death when I arrived at A&E,” said Pat. “The diagnosis came after I was transferred to Castle ward and it was there that I received the most amazing care.”
After receiving intravenous antibiotics to stabilise her condition, Pat gradually regained her full strength, and although she’s made an amazing recovering, it’s taken a while to get back to normal. To show her heartfelt
appreciation to the Castle ward team, Pat arranged a singathon event in January in the Penguin Foyer at Worthing Hospital. With the help of friends, family, local choirs and children from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Chesswood Junior School, Pat raised the roof for patients, staff and visitors – and raised more than £1,165. “It was a celebration of song, but of life too,” said Pat. “My life was saved and I wanted to show my heartfelt appreciation to the nurses and doctors who gave me a second chance.”
When Chris Sloggett’s son Jasper was born on 13 April 2017 at Worthing Hospital, both he and his wife Gayle were looking forward to going home and starting life as a family. However, after a relatively straight forward birth, Jasper became very unwell before they were discharged and stopped breathing while still on the ward.
After being rushed to the special care baby unit next door, nurses carried out emergency tests and discovered he had a serious infection. Jasper spent two and a half weeks on the unit and further investigations found he also had an abnormal lump on one of his heart valves.
Chris, 37, a teacher at Felpham Community College, said, “He was monitored 24 hours a day and underwent an exhaustive array of treatments and tests, but he received outstanding care and treatment from all the fantastic staff. The support given to my wife at a difficult time was second to none.”
It was this life-saving care that inspired Chris to raise money for the unit. No stranger to running, he had already taken part in no fewer than nine marathons already, however, this time round, he decided to take on the big one and embarked on a rigorous training regime to get ready for the 2018 London Marathon.
Setting a target of £300, Chris was amazed to see the pounds roll in and within just 48 hours of launching his JustGiving fundraising page, he’d raised more than £600. With support from him running club, the Henfield Joggers, Chris ramped up his training getting up a 4.30am in the morning and clocking in five runs a week.
On the day of the run, all Chris’s hard work came into its own when he crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 41 minutes and 42 seconds and a fantastic fundraising total of more than £1,560.
“Jasper is now a happy and healthy boy, something at the time we never thought would happen,” said Chris. “This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to say a big thank you to all the staff on the special care baby unit who helped to save his life.”
(Chris, Gayle and Jasper Sloggett)