AN ELDERLY care ward that was named and shamed in a critical report of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital has been given a £200,000 revamp.

Ward 26 was one of two wards that were singled out following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission last December.

Now the entire ward has been redecorated with bright colourful bays, modern flooring, a new reception desk and energy efficient LED lights.

Ward sister Claire Charville said it was a very different place to the ward she first joined in November.

“Morale was very low following the CQC report back then, but that was a low point that we won’t reach again.

“We have been on the up ever since. The atmosphere is amazing now – it is very different to where we were six months ago.”

And the improvements have not just been cosmetic. Staff say there is better structure and leadership, training needs are being met and there are more nurses.

Claire explains: “We now have some excellent overseas nurses from Italy and Spain who have bought a wealth of knowledge and experience with them and there is always a senior member of staff on duty at anytime of the day and night.”

Each bay has been decorated in colourful themes with picturesque vinyl wraps of flowers on the doors, to make them more appealing and distinguishable.

Claire said everyone loved the new look: “We have had a lot of input with the design along with our patients from start to finish.

“We chose a floral theme because there is evidence to show that it creates an association with a nicer smell and appearance.

“We also worked closely with the King’s Fund – an independent charity that works to improve healthcare in England – who helped with the overall design to create a healthier environment especially for people with dementia.”

She added that they were also working with occupational therapists to create an area to provide a new programme of activities.

“We are trying to create a more therapeutic environment so we will be hosting weekly activities for patients and their relatives if they want to join in too.

“We also have a large TV screen which will be used to channel pictures or videos to make their stay more pleasurable.”

Patient Maggie Smith, 72, from Verwood, was on ward 26 prior to its refurbishment. She has been in and out of hospital over the past six months.

“I have been here 60 days and I’m hoping to go home soon but this is a lovely ward now.

“It is so much brighter and more open – the atmosphere is so much better – it feels a much friendlier place.”

Nursing director Paula Shobbrook said much of the work had been in the pipeline as part of their improvements to elderly care prior to the CQC inspection but agreed the report had been a catalyst for change.

“It was a very difficult time for everyone so it is so nice to see such an improvement. I am delighted with the new ward and the way everyone has worked so closely together.

“Ward 3 has also had a change of focus and has a new ward sister.

“Six months down the line we are seeing real improvements in all areas as well as in our feed-back from patients.”

Estates manager Edwin Davies said he was particularly pleased with the way staff and patients had taken ownership of the project.

“Everybody got a buzz out of it which makes it all worthwhile.

“I think ward 26 has set new standards and will become a benchmark for the other wards.”

• 'Inadequate care'

THE Royal Bournemouth was one of the first hospitals in the UK to be assessed under the new inspection regime in the wake of the Mid Staffs scandal.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection was carried out in October and the report was published in December.

Inspectors found medical care, including older people’s care, was ‘inadequate’.

Wards 3 and 26 for elderly medical patients were singled out as problem areas with patients in some wards found left in soiled and wet beds.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, reported that: “Basic nursing care was not being given to patients in two medical care wards.”