Newly-designed room offers young cancer patients dedicated space at Derriford Hospital

Young patients, who have received or are receiving treatment for cancer, at Derriford Hospital, have officially opened a newly-designed space on Bracken Ward.

The dedicated room, which has been revamped to become a more age-appropriate space for our young patients, has been decorated with a woodland image and now contains computer consoles and comfortable furniture.

The room was officially opened today by Connor Shellis, who recently received treatment at Derriford Hospital. Connor was joined by patients Lucy Griffiths, Megan Kirkup, Alastair Whettell, their loved ones, hospital staff and representatives from Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent.

The improvements were provided by Teenage Cancer Trust, as part of the roll-out of their new Nursing & Support Service in the area, and they were made possible by incredible fundraising support from the local community.

“The room is multifunctional and will ease the time that our patients have to spend in hospital as an inpatient or outpatient,” explains Kerry McKay, Lead Haematology Cancer Nurse Specialist/Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Nurse.

“Before the space was developed, our young people didn’t have anywhere to really ‘hang out’. Instead they would have to sit in waiting rooms or in clinical areas with other patients of all ages. If they were staying in with us as an inpatient then they might use the communal areas or would remain in their bed space.

“This new room offers them the opportunity to have their own, dedicated space that is close enough to where they need to be but it’s their own space to use as a base, to chill out and it doesn’t feel like it’s a clinical room, which was important for all of us.”

Kerry continued: “We have ordered two additional iPads and XBOX One games from the Trust’s Charitable Funds account and Teenage Cancer Trust has also provided a laptop with wi-fi, for the use of our patients. In addition, the room has lockers so patients are able to use the room as a base if they are in the hospital for long periods of time or they are moving between departments. Photo of the Teenage Cancer Trust room

“On behalf of the Trust, we would like to say a massive thank you to the Teenage Cancer Trust and to every single person who has donated and has helped to raise money to make this happen and to make a difference to our young cancer patients.”

“When I stayed on Bracken Ward last year, I saw the room when it was nothing,” describes Connor. “The staff were telling me how it was going to be decorated and it sounded wonderful. Being on the ward, it can feel very clinical so it is good to have somewhere to go that allows you to feel normal.”

Jamie Cargill, Teenage Cancer Trust Lead Nurse for Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) Service in the South West added: “The transformation of this space is going to make a huge difference for young people with cancer in Plymouth, and the additional resources will help the teenagers maintain a sense of normality during their cancer treatment. A massive thank you to all our fundraisers and supporters, whose dedication and hard work has made this happen.”

Teenage Cancer Trust already provides specialist units at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre and Bristol Children’s Hospital, and funds specialist staff in hospitals across the region.

Every year, approximately 220 young people are diagnosed with cancer in the South West and around 2,500 UK-wide.

Photos from the official opening can be found on our Facebook page.