Patients are benefiting from a new hospital ward opening up in Aberdeen.
Neurosurgery patients suffering from acute illness, such as brain injuries, have been sharing a space at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with neurology patients with chronic or life-limiting conditions.
The two groups require different types of care and NHS Grampian has now launched a dedicated space for people admitted for neurology care.
Describing the layout before the change, consultant neurosurgeon Anastasios Giamouriadis said: “We would have a patient who is recovering from surgery for a brain tumour – and we’re expecting improvement – nursed in a bed next to a patient with progressive motor neurone disease (MND) that we are trying to delay the worsening and deterioration of the neurological condition.
“As far as the staff are concerned these patients have different needs. Whereby neurosurgery patients need less and less support neurology patients need more support over time.”
Caroline McIntosh, who is the senior charge nurse for the new neurology ward – also known as Ward 204 – said: “It’s an opportunity to enhance the already excellent care we are giving patients.
“We’ve been working to specialities in one unit and doing it exceptionally well with lots of positive feedback.”
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Claire McNab, senior charge nurse for the neurosurgery ward – known as Ward 205 – said: “This is an evolution of the service we already offer to further improve the care we provide.
“The way you nurse both sets of patients is very different.
“Neurosurgical patients come in either for a listed operative procedure or with an acute illness where they receive surgery and then either go on to receive oncology services or rehab.
“They are with us for their neuro treatment – be it brain surgery, spinal or something similar – and then they tend to go on for specialist care in different areas.
“With neurology patients, because they usually have a life-limiting or chronic illness, like MS or MND, the management of that is quite different.”
Ward 204 will have 10 beds and Ward 205 will have 17 beds – maintaining the same number as before the change.
Caroline said she hoped having two dedicated wards will help attract graduate nurses in both neurology and neurosurgery.
She added: “It will provide a better environment for learning for newly qualified nurses and we will hopefully capture their interest in one area and can go on to further their education and training from there.
“Hopefully over the next five years we will see benefits and staff vacancies will drop as a result and it will help us recruit new people and also retain them.
“Although we are going to be two separate wards it will still be a neuroscience floor and we will work together for the best of the patients.
“On the same floor is the neurophysiology department and we also have the planned investigation unit.”