Nursing Times Award Winner

Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil offers gentle entertainment to patients with cancer

Cathy Barker is the Macmillan Clinical Lead/Manager in the Cancer Unit at Prince Charles Hospital. She writes........

'We have a bird feeding table in the garden just outside our unit. Birds have seeds, fat balls and nuts to chomp on all day. Patients can be receiving chemotherapy for hours on end , blood transfusions or other cancer treatments and they all love watching the local wildlife through the windows in the landscaped garden.

In the design of the building, the windows are lowered so that the patients can look out. I thought it would be a great idea to buy the bird feeding station as I have one at home. Visitors to the unit are also fascinated by it, and even other staff, such as porters, make great comments. My team also bring in bread for the birds, and they have also recently enjoyed mince pies left over from Christmas.

Second idea - we have portable DVD players so that each chemotherapy patient can watch different genres of films. Last week we had one of our gynae patients howling with laughter whilst watching a comedy cartoon and it took her mind off her six hours of chemotherapy.

I am very lucky that I can be very innovative as the new unit gives me this opportunity as I am the new Macmillan funded manager of the cancer unit and I love working there!'

She adds...

'... Only yesterday, we had one patient receiving a 4.5 hour blood transfusion. It was a beautiful sunny day and we offered him the DVDs, tea and coffee and sandwiches at lunchtime. I said: 'try and think of this treatment as a flight to Cyprus as we aim to make your day comfortable and enjoyable! The lady next to him was having three units of blood, so she joined in and we worked out hers would have been a flight to New York as she was in for 6-7 hours!.

For more information, you can call Cathy Barker 01685 728833

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