First Touch transforms the neonatal ‘Quiet Room’
The St George’s neonatal unit is a level three centre, meaning it takes care of the sickest and most premature babies across South West London, and sometimes beyond.
The ‘Quiet Room’ is an important space within the unit where staff can take parents and relatives to sensitively explain the treatment their child needs, and what their prognosis is.
First Touch is a charity dedicated to supporting our neonatal unit. They work tirelessly to raise funds for state-of-the-art equipment and more recently they took on the job to improve our ‘Quiet Room’.
Working together with designer Robyn Falck, counsellor Paula Steele, neonatal staff, porters, decorators, carpet fitters and volunteer fundraisers, First Touch have revamped the room into a warm space with a ‘lending library’ and serene locally-based artwork.
Suzie Radford who helped raise funds for the refurbishment said, “When you have a baby on the neonatal unit, the ‘Quiet Room’ very quickly becomes a place you almost dread. It’s where you are taken to discuss your baby’s health and there are often quite distressing conversations to be had.
“Our daughter was born in 2000 with major heart and lung problems. Sadly they were inoperable and our daughter died in our arms at three and a half weeks old. It was in the quiet room we held her and said our goodbyes.
“When First Touch decided to refurbish the room it became hugely important to me that any family going through what we did absolutely deserved to spend that precious time in a peaceful, relaxing environment. Having gone back to the ‘Quiet Room’ 14 years later to see the sofas hadn’t changed and how tired and dark it was in there, I just had to get behind the fundraising.
“Whilst the room in itself can’t take away the distress, it can be a peaceful calm place and that is exactly what it is now. It’s an amazing transformation and I am immensely proud to have been able to help with the incredible support of the special people in my life. ”
Sarah Collins, charity director of First Touch said, “Although most of the funds raised by First Touch charity are used to fund state-of-the-art neonatal medical equipment, we also have a strong commitment to family welfare.
“We were delighted to be asked by consultants at the NNU if we would take on the task of refurbishing the rather tired looking ‘Quiet Room’.
“We are especially grateful to interior designer, Robyn Falck, who gave her expertise free of charge and to Suzanne Radford and Angela Hegarty who fundraised tirelessly for this project, from organising a Zumbathon led by Strictly’s Matthew Cutler to hosting a charity ball.
“The artwork we used had to represent the quiet and reflective nature of the room, so the limited edition prints from Wimbledon artist Sarah Manolescue fitted the bill perfectly. They complement the muted and calm colours used on the walls on for the furnishings.
“The feedback from staff and families has been 100% positive. My colleague Louise Williams and I are very proud to have worked on this venture to improve the experience of families facing a tough time at the NNU.”
More photos of the room can be viewed on our Facebook Page.