Local foundation donates £50,000 to the General Intensive Care Unit at Southampton Hospital

The Barker Mill Foundation has continued its support of University Hospital Southampton (UHS) with a further donation of £50,000 to Southampton Hospitals Charity. The donation has been used to support the cost of two relatives’ rooms, providing a private environment for medical and nursing teams to meet with patients’ families and update them on patients’ treatment and progress or to break difficult news.

The funds have paid for the rooms to be built within the current General Intensive Care Unit (GICU) and for the associated costs such as decoration and providing furniture. The rooms are just one of the enhancements which the Barker Mill Foundation is funding for the GICU at University Hospitals Southampton, which was at the forefront of providing lifesaving care to hundreds of patients with COVID-19, at the peak of the pandemic caring for over 250 patients with the illness.

In total, over the last three years the Barker Mill Foundation has donated £137,500 to the Hospital. The donations have supported two projects: £100,000 towards the two relatives’ rooms and £37,500 towards a point of care testing device. Southampton Hospitals Charity is also raising £1.2m to fund a palliative care suite, rehabilitations area to be used by therapy staff, a new waiting room and artwork throughout the department.

Steve Harris, Chief People Officer for UHS and Southampton Hospitals Charity said: “We are so grateful to The Barker-Mill Foundation for their continued and generous support of our organisation. Being able to provide a quiet space that is also close by for relatives of patients, at what can often be a very stressful time, is going to make a real difference.”

Fiona Hall, a UHS GICU nurse, who looks after the follow up care which patients, and their loved ones, receive after discharge added: “Relatives of GICU patients are away from home, often many miles if the patient has been flown in or in the area on holiday. They are extremely anxious and afraid to leave their

loved ones’ side when they are critically ill and there could be a deterioration at any moment. Being able to de-stress in a comfortable dedicated space that makes them feel welcome means they won’t have to go far from the bedside to rest or get refreshment- so often people are afraid to go downstairs to get a drink in case they miss the urgent call to go back to the bedside.

“Additionally, loved ones will be able to chat with other relatives out of earshot of the general public. This allows for mutual support and empathy with others who recognise what they are going through and often gain strong bonds with. Relevant information and support can be readily available in sensitively decorated areas where they can talk with health professionals in confidence and privacy. All of this would not be possible without the support of The Barker Mill Foundation.”

A spokesperson at the Barker-Mill Foundation said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to Southampton Hospitals Charity and University Hospital Southampton and to support their staff in delivering world class treatment and care. We are delighted to know that the Barker-Mill Foundation’s latest donation towards the two relatives’ rooms will really make a difference for so many people who are going through a stressful time with a loved one in hospital. We hope the rooms provide a calming environment to everyone who unfortunately needs to use them.”

For further information on Southampton Hospitals Charity please visit their website at www.southamptonhospitalscharity.org/make-a-donation.