Patients, staff and visitors marked the 25th anniversary of Birchover Ward at Whitworth Hospital with a tea party last week.
In the quarter century since the ward first opened, it has cared for thousands of mostly elderly patients from Darley Dale and further afield.
Though its role has adapted over the years, reflecting changing health needs, its dedicated staff have played an invaluable part in the care of all the many patients who have come through the doors.
It is currently a female-only ward – in line with guidance on single sex wards – and has benefited from generous support from the hospital’s League of Friends, which raised the money for a conservatory, its furnishings, and some electric beds.
The League of Friends were among the guests at the tea party on Friday, July 16, in recognition of the invaluable support they have given, not just to the ward, but to the hospital for many years.
Joanne Housley, ward manager, said: “The original ward layout has altered to move with the times. A nurse office was built in the centre of the ward, a quiet room was added for staff, patients and visitors to use, with furniture donated by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.
“New shower rooms were added a few years ago to two of the bays and en-suite bathroom facilities were added to one of the side-rooms, so that the most seriously ill patients can be cared for away from the other patients.”
First opened for patients in 1986, Birchover Ward was officially opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in June 1987.
In those early days it was a rehabilitation ward for patients admitted by consultants. More recently it has been providing urgent intervention care for frail or elderly patients who need a period of expert help to maintain or manage their health conditions or mobility.
Nowadays, it has 18 beds and patients are admitted to the ward by family doctors and other community health carers.
The care they receive will often provide the boost they need to go home and maintain their independence for longer.