THE DUCHESS of Gloucester helped Droitwich and Bromsgrove residents celebrate two big achievements last Thursday (September 11).
Birgitte, the Queen’s cousin-in-law, who lives in Kensington Palace visited New Haven, in Bromsgrove, to open its new mental health unit before she went on to mark more than 60 successful years at Rashwood Care Home, in Droitwich.
THE DUCHESS gave her royal seal of approval when she officially opened the state-of-the-art area at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital.
Her Royal Highness was given the honour of unveiling the commemorative plaque to mark the opening of the new unit especially designed for older people with dementia and other mental health illnesses.
Staff, volunteers, patients and their families as well as children from Birchensale Middle School all gathered to greet the Duchess with flowers before they watched her unveil a special plaque commemorating the day.
New Haven, which opened last year, has 30 spaces capable of accommodating varying degrees of dementia including Alzheimer’s, acute depression, acute anxiety and psychosis.
It is fully-equipped to meet the complex mental health needs of its patients by providing physical, psychological and emotional care.
During her visit, HRH was shown the courtyards, which give the patients the opportunity to get outdoors, as well as the unit’s art group’s work – art is often used to help stimulate memory.
The Duchess was told about the unit’s approach to person-centred care, the importance of activities such as exercise and even pet therapy to help patients, and how New Haven had been designed to inspire recovery by providing a stimulating environment which creates a ‘home from home’. That helps patients retain independence, privacy and personhood.
The Duchess said: “It really was fascinating to learn about – I am very impressed to hear about what I have seen today.
“I hope this place goes from strength-to-strength – I wish you and the patients who come to New Haven the very best.”
Twelve-year-old Ellie Bennett, from Birchensale Middle School which supports horticultural and gardening projects, greeted the Duchess with some flowers.
She said: “I was really excited for today – she was really nice.”
And she said she could not wait to get home to tell her family and her friends at school.
Tony Baker, New Haven’s matron and lead nurse, said when they found out the Duchess was going to officially open the unit they were overjoyed and the patients were so excited.
“This unit is very unique in its design and has changed the way older people with mental health illnesses receive care and treatment in an in-patient environment.
“Our patients, staff and volunteers were delighted to welcome the Duchess of Gloucester and to show her this unique environment.”
RESIDENTS at Rashwood were excited to welcome a Patron of Elizabeth Finn Care this week.
During her visit, the Duchess was given a tour of the home which has provided residential and nursing care to residents for more than 60 years.
Helen Grice, Rashwood’s general manager, said it was a pleasure to show HRH around before they all enjoyed afternoon tea.
“It really was such a special afternoon and one which our residents will certainly remember for a long time,” she added.
Resident Nora Aird, 84, said: “She was very friendly and really interested in hearing about all of the different activities that we get to do here at Rashwood.
“I’ve never met a member of the Royal Family before and so it was a very memorable day for me.”
The Duchess added: “I was reading only this morning in the newspaper just 30 minutes of walking every day can make such a difference to your health.
“Looking around the beautiful grounds here I can see that there are plenty of opportunities to do that.”
HRH meeting a resident at Elizabeth Finn Rashwood care home.
The unveiling of the plaque which reads: ‘New Haven officially opened by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester GCVO 11th September 2014.’
HRH complimenting the chefs.