Popular hospital enhances its green credentials

Members of staff at popular hospital Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth are wielding garden tools in a bid to ‘green-up’ its site.

They are doing this in response to suggestions from patients and visitors who felt that the green areas of the hospital’s grounds could be made more attractive. Members of staff had also called for an initiative to improve the hospital’s environmental impact.

In order to run the green initiative, the hospital has set up its own Green Team made up from members of staff from across departments. This week they will be busy planting outside the main entrance and by the tunnel to the mobile MRI unit, to make those areas more welcoming to patients and staff.

The planting will include a mixture of garden plants and vegetables, the latter destined for use in the hospital’s Care Café.

The Green Team is also introducing a number of initiatives to encourage wildlife, including bird feeders. The team will take on maintenance activities, such as picking up litter from around the site, and will be encouraging other members of staff to take part.

The hospital would also like to invite patients and visitors to take part, be that offering some time for gardening duties or donating plants and equipment.

As well as concentrating on planting and encouraging wildlife, a number of other initiatives have been adopted by the hospital to minimise its environmental impact. All cardboard and plastic used at the hospital are recycled, and all cups used for water, tea and coffee are recycled too. All the tissue and toilet paper used in the hospital is recycled and rubbish is separated into recycling bins before it leaves the site.

Most lights in the hospital are set to only switch on when someone enters a room. All staff are encouraged to share transport to work and the hospital offers a scheme to help members of staff buy bicycles to use on their commute into work.

The hospital’s cleaners used environmentally-friendly cleaning products which come in concentrated form which means less is used, a reduction in waste packaging and fewer deliveries – all contributing to a better carbon footprint.

Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “My thanks go to colleagues who are driving this initiative and whose efforts help us to be as environmentally-friendly as we can be. The excellence of the patient experience sits at the heart of everything we do, and we listen to the suggestions patients and visitors make about how we can further improve our offering. We hope that people coming to the hospital will take time to enjoy our newly-planted areas.”

Gardening after a total hip or knee replacement – 6 top tips

This month is a key month for the garden, and news of the green initiative at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre may well have inspired you. Having a new hip or knee doesn’t mean that you have to give up on gardening. Here are 6 top tips from experts at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre:

1. Protect - Tissue healing takes up to three months, so physical activity during this time period is limited to range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises as advised by your physiotherapist. Complete healing following a total hip replacement or knee replacement takes one to two years after your operation.

2. Strengthen your muscles – Strengthening exercises should begin eight weeks after surgery following advice from your physiotherapist. These exercises develop strength in your muscles which in turn reduces the load on the joint.

3. Kneeling – After a knee replacement kneeling may be painful to begin with. It is best to keep kneeling to a minimum post-surgery and introduce it gradually. After a hip replacement many patients can kneel down after completing the precautionary period of three months. Seek advice from your physiotherapist about safe techniques.

4. Gardening tasks - Resumption of gardening tasks such as shovelling, walking over uneven surfaces, and squatting/bending to the ground will vary from individual to individual depending upon level of strength prior to surgery, level of health, and length of healing time since surgery. Most individuals can begin attempting light gardening tasks three to six months after their operation.

5. Gardening tools and assisted devices - A planter’s stool or reacher can enhance your ability to get to the ground when strength and range of motion are limited. Use special knee mats or special knee pads for kneeling to reduce the strain on the joint.

6. Modify how you work - Modifying body mechanics can reduce the workload on your new joint – so, when carrying heavy loads such as plants and potting soil, keep them close to your body. Use the ‘unoperated’ leg to apply pressure on a spade or shovel to reduce the stress on the operated side.

If your GP agrees that you need a hip or knee replacement, you can ask them to refer you to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre for treatment. More information is available from www.peninsulatreatmentcentre.nhs.uk