Peaceful garden unveiled by Portsmouth Hospitals Charity for patients and staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital to relax and reflect in

A TRANQUIL garden for reflection and relaxation has been unveiled for hospital patients and staff to spend time outdoors in the sunshine.

By Belinda Dickins
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:20 pm

Generous charity donations, including a gift left in someone’s will, have helped to fund the new Garden of Life at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Officially opened on Wednesday, the area has quickly become a favourite for staff, visitors and patients wishing to spend some time outside the ward.

The garden has been many years in the planning, and the idea was formed as a way of letting patients with critical care needs spend some time outside of the hospital during their long stays.

Amy Sheaff, 28, with the prize she received after her suggestion was used to name the Garden of Life at QA Hospital. Picture: Mike Cooter (090621)

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Kate Sandys, head of Portsmouth Hospitals Charity, said: ‘It had been a vision for quite a long time. It was quite patient-focused at first, but it’s also a space to reflect on organ donation and the staff are gaining real benefit from this.

‘It has become such an important part of the hospital site.’

Within the main garden layout there is space to allow for a patient bed and also space for wheelchair access, with electricity points to allow for equipment to be plugged in.

Melloney Poole OBE, the chair of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust) addresses guests at the opening of the Garden of Life Picture: Mike Cooter (090621)

Richard Clinton, consultant in critical care, said: ‘We can’t underestimate the huge importance that getting outside has for patients in critical care. We have already seen lots of patients coming down to the garden and using the facilities.’

Part of the vision behind the garden was also to recognise organ donation, with an inscription to mark the contribution of organ donors in a stone at the entrance to the garden which says 'In their final hours they gave a lifetime.’

The name Garden of Life was chosen from a list of around 200 entries as a result of a competition led by the charity for staff, with Amy Sheaff and John Kearton suggesting the winning name.

A visitor sits in the Garden of Life at QA Hospital. Picture: Mike Cooter (090621)

Student nurse Amy said: ‘This name reflects the idea of using the garden as a space for reflection and remembrance of loved ones, to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones.

‘It also recognises the amazing and selfless gift of life that organ donors and their families have given to the recipients.’

The garden also includes features such as a collection of stones from the original hospital buildings and the restored weather vane which previously stood on the site.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Head of Portsmouth Hospitals Charity Kate Sandys, organ donation specialist Bethan Thomas, trust chair Melloney Poole and critical care consultant Richard Clinton Picture: Mike Cooter (090621)

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