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From the archive of Rowan Flack
Former Clinical Nurse Officer, Rushden Hospital, 1966-1990.
Transcribed by Greville Watson, 2008

Kettering & District Community Health Council

Seventh Annual Report 1980/81


Since the last report, it was gratifying to see that all the alternations had now been completed in Crane Ward, which was previously the Ladies Chest Ward, but is now firmly established as a Dermatology Unit.  Crane Ward accommodates ten patients.  The Treatment Room is much more spacious, yet still allows privacy for the patient, and gives a larger working area for the staff and equipment.  The Day Room is very pleasant with large picture windows overlooking the lawns and must be of great benefit to the patients during their relaxation periods.  The Out-Patient Clinic at the Skin Unit is still continued and is unique in that its services are available to anyone at any time of day, whenever the need arises, which is a service a bigger hospital could not offer.  During a discussion with Mr Flack, regarding the different illnesses treated, he was of the opinion that the most common skin diseases were Psoriasis, Eczema and leg ulcers amongst the elderly.

While the visit was taking place, an afternoon Chest Clinic was in progress.  It has its own X-Ray Department and small Operating Theatre where Bronchoscopies etc are performed and other respiratory diseases are investigated and assessed.

Depending on availability of beds, facilities are available whereby elderly patents can be admitted to either Sharnwood or Hensman Wards for short periods, while their families are on holiday, on a phased care basis.

Hensman Ward is desperately in need of a Day Room as some of the patients have TB and are not allowed to mingle with the other patients, at the moment they are having to sit in their wards all the time, which does not give them a break from the clinical atmosphere.  At present there are only 3 TB patients in the hospital.  The Ward appeared to be in good decorative order and clean and tidy.  Hensman is a fourteen bedded Ward.

Sharwood Ward has twenty beds.  It is still awaiting complete redecoration and rewiring, the kitchen area, in particular, is in a poor decorative condition.  Mr Flack said that this was all in hand.  The verandas are still waiting to be covered in and it is hoped that they will be correctly ventilated in view of the trouble experienced with those in Hensman Ward which have now been covered but not correctly ventilated.  It was anticipated that alterations would be completed by October/November.

The Day Hospital is continuing to do very good work with the elderly confused and the Chiropody Service is working well and there appears to be no problems.  There are approximately 25 patients per day attending the Day Hospital and about 8 per day are given baths by staff, principally patients who do not have the facilities at home or need assistance.  This service enables District Nursing Auxiliaries who would normally carry out these duties to give additional time to other patients.  During a discussion with the Charge Nurse, it was suggested that the removal of the hip-bath in the bathroom would give more space – evidently the elderly people prefer to be bathed in a conventional type bath as the sensation of rising water frightens them, so the hip-bath is no longer used.  This has been previously reported.

It was noted that the hazardous lighting arrangement has now been replaced with a more effective system, which is a great improvement.

The last call was to Colton House to visit the severely physically and mentally retarded children.  This House has thirteen beds.  Down one side of the Ward there were a number of small cubicles, representing a small bedroom in a family home, most of these consisted of a single bed with a cot and, on the other side of the room, were single beds with their own individual bedspreads of all colours and varieties, so that the children are able to associate their own.  Sister Childs said they were trying to get small dressing tables for each occupant to make them feel more ‘at home’.

The Day Room is very pleasant with a wide variety of toys for the children, with plenty of scope for movement.  It was thought that if the veranda was covered in it would be of great benefit for the children as an open play area during inclement weather, thus alleviating the pressure of being in one enclosed area.  Sister Childs informed the visitors that the Weekly Parents’ Meeting was going very well, and great interest had been shown in the venture.  They arrange a different Guest Speaker for each meeting.  Fund raising was still progressing, the latest venture being a Disco whereby the sum of £100 was raised.

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