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Kensington & Chelsea Today JULY 15, 2014 - by Adrian Williams

CHARITY APPEAL LAUNCHED FOR CHELSEA & WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity has started an appeal hoping to raise £600,000 to tranform Chelsea and Westminster Hospital A&E into a calm space to aid healing.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital was recently ranked the top performing A&E service in the country for the second year in a row. However, the A&E was designed to treat sixty-thousand patients a year and now receives a hundred-and-twelve-thousand patients, about a hundred children and two hundred adults every day.

The appeal is part of a pound;10 million redevelopment scheme. Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity hopes to use its design expertise to create an environment which calms and supports patients in the traumatic environment of A&E. This is thought to reduce stress and improve clinical outcomes.

When eighteen month old Arlo was admitted to the Chelsea and Westminster A&E with scalds on his face, hands and chest. He was too distressed to receive treatment. Arlo's mother Gemma was offered a choice: give Arlo morphine, which meant an overnight stay, or try a form of distraction therapy. Distraction therapy, a technique used in Great Ormond street, uses pleasant stimuli to lessen acute responses to pain. Children have a tendency to focus on pain, thus heightening their discomfort. Gemma chose this option.

'It was phenomenal,' she said. 'The lights were down low and there were projections of art and colours on the wall. Arlo had been screaming in pain and was uncontrollable when we first entered A&E, but immediately calmed down. Within forty-five minutes, his wounds had been treated and dressed and he was discharged.'

The appeal launched last night at the House of Commons, hosted by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Guests included a mix of artists including Brian Eno, Mischa Kuball and Steffi Mueller, along with supporters of the charity.

'We know arts and culture have a huge impact on both our physical and mental health,' said Mr Vaizey.'The talent of our leading artists will provide a calm and positive environment and I hope this work can continue in other areas too.'

A patron of the hospital, Hugh Grant, also spoke at the launch. 'This will make A&E a much less scary, hostile and forbidding atmosphere for people who are traumatised or injured, for children, for their families or friends,' he said.


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