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New tech-led hospital expansion opens



A new tech-led state-of-the-art expansion and redevelopment of the Adult and Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which will enable the treatment of more than 2,000 critically ill adults and babies every year, has been officially opened. 

The first phase of the Adult Intensive Care Unit was fast-tracked to open in March 2020 to treat the increased number of patients being cared for in our ICU due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With construction phases complete, the capacity of the new Julia and Hans Rausing ICU unit has increased by 45 per cent, allowing the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to care for an additional 500 patients per year.  

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has expanded by 40 per cent, providing specialist care to 150 more babies every year as well as providing better clinical space and family facilities.

The new unit – enabled by the Trust and its charity CW+ – aims to significantly improve critically ill patients’ recovery and wellbeing by creating optimal healing environments and incorporating the latest innovations and digital solutions that can be personalised to reduce anxiety, pain and stress.

The development of the new ICU has been based on extensive research with the acoustics, lighting, layout and furnishing having all been selected for the patient’s brain, body and senses to rest and heal more effectively. 

The patient-focused environment includes media screens to enable engagement with the hospital’s arts in health programme and contact with family and friends, noise-reducing equipment, and the latest sensor technology to monitor patients’ health, progress and environment.

The new NICU unit – made possible by charitable support from the Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation and other supporters – has expanded to increase not only the number of cots but also provide additional space and privacy around each one – so staff can treat babies with their parents close by, while also reducing the risk of infection, to which premature babies are particularly vulnerable.

The unit, designed to offer a ‘home from home’ environment, is equipped with the latest technology to facilitate improved healing conditions for the babies including adaptive circadian rhythm lighting, which matches the needs of human biological cycles and can be individualised for each baby.

Lesley Watts, CEO at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, says: “This is a really proud moment for our Trust and a huge achievement, especially during these challenging times.  

“So many people have been involved in the redevelopment and I can’t thank our staff, partners, CW+ and incredible donors enough for helping create this pioneering, modern and patient-centred critical care service in the UK.

“The new Julia and Hans Rausing ICU has already played such an important role in helping to deal with the pressures of COVID-19, and the expansion reinforces the hospital’s reputation as a centre of excellence and innovation.

“We are proud that we can extend our level of care to help treat hundreds more critically ill adults and babies each year.”

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