Refurbished break-out room for parents officially opened

The “new” parents’ room adjoining Ward 8 – the Children’s Ward – at the Royal Preston Hospital has been officially opened by former nurse Julie Appleby and her husband Mick (pictured) after the existing space was given a £10,552 refurbishment by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity’s Children’s Fund.

Julie and Mick were given ribbon cutting honours after donating £8,073.25 including gift aid towards the make-over’s cost in memory of their eldest son Daniel, who they lost aged 30 to a brain haemorrhage in 2017 but who had been a patient on the ward a number of times following a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at the age of 11. Their donation included £400 raised by a bowling tournament held in Daniel’s memory.

The room has been designed and furnished to provide parents with a break-out zone where they can take some time for themselves in a relaxing and calm environment during their child’s time on the Children’s Ward.

It has soft seating, a wall mural, frosted window and TV to give respite and a kitchen area with a sink, microwave, kettle, cutlery and crockery so parents can make a drink and simple meal, possibly while their child is sleeping.

Julie, who qualified as a nurse in 1985 and worked at both the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals before becoming a health visitor in 2002, said: “It’s important parents have somewhere to go to give themselves just a breather. I know from both a professional and personal perspective how hard it can be having a child in hospital.”

Julie, who left nursing to work for Sure Start supporting parents with babies and young children and then founded New Springs Family Care Ltd, continued: “Daniel always felt comfortable on the Children’s Ward, which made us as a family feel supported and comfortable. Losing Daniel is something we will never get over but it helps knowing we can support other families in his name.”

Charity team fundraiser Lucy Clark said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Julie and Mick for their help with this project. The improvements that have been made are already making a huge difference to parents spending many hours and days on the ward with their children. The refurbished room is a stress-free place away from the hustle and bustle where parents can not only take a break and reflect on information they receive from the clinical teams but also, gain support from other parents in a similar situation.

“Having a child in hospital can be really tough. We want parents to have their own break-out zone, where they can share a cuppa with other mums and dads and take comfort from one another during difficult times.”