New frailty unit improves services for the elderly at Aintree Hospital

First-of-a-kind ward creates a home-from-home environment for frail older people

A ground-breaking new ‘acute frailty unit’ – the first of its kind in the region - has opened at Aintree University Hospital on Merseyside.

Novus Property Solutions has been instrumental in the creation the unit as part of its ongoing contract with Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The inpatient ward has been designed specifically with elderly patients in mind. The centre includes mock stairs and a home-from-home living area and kitchen, allowing staff to assess each patient’s independence prior to returning home.

The complex live ward refurbishment, which took five months to complete, was carried out in six phases, completing one area at a time and working hard to keep disruption to a minimum.

As well as installing the assessment facilities, including the kitchen, Novus also reconfigured the layout of each side room, reducing the number of beds to four from six and installing en-suite bathrooms. The new layout provides more space around each unit for additional equipment such as hoists, as well as enabling patients to move around more easily.

The final stage of the project was the creation of an external courtyard for patients as having access to outdoor space can be a vital part of the recovery process, while also providing a retreat for staff. Novus donated fruit trees and a summer house to complete the design.

The revamp is part of a contract between the trust and Novus to streamline the estate, which covers 44 acres and includes 70 separate buildings.

In the two years since the contract became operational, the team has worked on numerous planned works including a live refurbishment of the ophthalmology department and the creation of a mock theatre and training room.

Barry Hill, projects manager at Novus, said “We’ve had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects as part of our work in partnership with Aintree University Hospital to date and this project was no exception.

“Working around staff and patients as part of a live ward refurbishment is always a challenge, but the team worked together with the hospital to ensure any disruption was minimal.”

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