One step closer to home for Norwich patients thanks to Portakabin

Offsite specialist designs first-ever discharge suite and medical day unit for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

The Aylsham Suite is a new facility enabling patients to return home sooner or to undergo day procedures without needing to be admitted

In order to increase capacity and improve the patient experience, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) wanted to create a new space for patients who were coming to the end of their hospital stay.

Championing a new and exciting approach for patients returning home after treatment, the trust turned to offsite construction expert, Portakabin, to deliver its first-ever discharge suite.

The Aylsham Suite has space for up to 28 patients at a time and also includes specialised areas for therapies, treatments, and relaxation.

The design team at Portakabin worked closely with staff and patient user groups to design a comfortable clinical environment.

Delivered in just four months, the 20-seat discharge lounge, with a full kitchen serving hot and cold food, is also complemented by two four-bed discharge wards for those being returned to care or sheltered accommodation.

The building has two five-bed wards and two single wards, with ancillary facilities including a pharmacy, utility, welfare and staff room, office, sister’s office and two nursing bases.

It is also home to a medical day unit, which enables patients to come for the day to receive treatments that traditionally needed a hospital admission.

This helps to maintain elective work during busy periods and targets patients who require procedures such as intravenous therapies, blood transfusions, biopsies, lumbar punctures, liver ablations and iron transfusions.

The building was designed with input from staff and patients at the hospital

Portakabin was also able to deliver a rapid assessment and treatment unit to speed up the handover of patients arriving by ambulance to the hospital’s emergency department.

Robert Snook, director and general manager at Portakabin, said: “Returning home can be a lonely and confusing time for some patients and this building is key to helping to promote independence, prevent social isolation and promote wellbeing, therefore helping to reduce the risk of re-admittance.

“Our team recognised how important a calm and peaceful internal environment would be to patients and ensured the final building reflected all these requirements.”

Chris Cobb, NNUH chief operating officer, added: “The Aylsham Suite is a fantastic addition for the trust, providing a comfortable and relaxing facility for patients as they prepare to return home after an inpatient stay in hospital.

“The co-located medical day unit is also proving to be an invaluable facility as it enables patients to have some elective procedures carried out as a same day procedure without the need to be admitted to an inpatient bed.”

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