A £4.4 million purpose-built facility designed to care for some of Fife’s most vulnerable patients has opened its doors at Stratheden Hospital.
The new Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (IPCU) will cater for those experiencing acute episodes of mental illness and aims to provide specialist care and treatment at a time when patients are at their most in need.
The new eight-bed facility, which has taken a year to build, sits on the north-eastern part of the hospital grounds, adjacent to the Radernie Low-Secure Unit, and replaces an existing unit housed in one of the Victorian buildings on the western edge of the hospital site near Cupar.
Patients both past and present played a pivotal role in the design of the new unit, identifying many of the key features which made their way into the finished build.
Lesley Tweedie, clinical service manager, explained: “We recognised that if we were to deliver the standard of facility our patients deserved, then we needed to ensure that patients with experience of our IPCU played a role in informing the design.
“A group of current and former patients were asked to identify the features that would be important to them at the point where they are most unwell.
“The feedback we received from this patient group, coupled with a similar focus group of staff, was presented to the architects and almost all of these were encompassed in the finished build”.
A key theme in the building’s design was greater privacy for patients than was afforded within the previous unit, where patients shared bedrooms.
Within the new IPCU, patients each have their own single bedroom with ensuite shower room, enabling greater privacy and offering patients a tranquil space.
A new central courtyard also offers patients a considerable outdoor space to exercise or to relax and enjoy some fresh air, while a further improvement is the provision of private rooms where patients can spend time with visiting friends and relatives.
Limitations of the old IPCU meant that patients could only spend time with visitors in the communal dining area.
Patients also have access to a new IT suite, where they can remain in touch with friends and family members or keep up to date with the outside world, while they will also benefit from an art and music room, a group therapy room, gym and a relaxation area.
NHS Fife chief executive Paul Hawkins said he was delighted to see patients move in this week.
He added: “We recognise that providing modern, therapeutic environments support us to deliver the high standard of care our patients deserve.
“This facility will enable some of our most vulnerable patients to be cared for in a safer and more supportive environment, designed specifically to meet their needs.”
And Sandy Riddell, director of Fife’s health and social care partnership, which oversees the provision of mental health care, concluded: “We are determined that patients in Fife should receive the very best care available and this impressive new facility will certainly support us in this end.”