An extensive Altro flooring and walling solution is helping to provide a beautiful, safe, homely and calm environment for new mothers and their babies at a revolutionary new maternity delivery suite at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
The facility, comprising nine birthing rooms, has been created to ensure mothers, babies and families have a home-from-home experience, but in a clinical and psychologically-safe environment. A hospital setting, but without the hospital feel.
The major transformation was a close collaboration between staff in the maternity department, Altro and Eden Flooring. Zoe Nelson, Acute Maternity Matron at the hospital, was at the forefront of the new venture. She said: “The old delivery suite hadn’t been upgraded for at least 25 years, so we were delighted when budget became available to bring it up-to-date with a refurbishment.
“Some time before, we upgraded the birthing centre, creating a relaxing, homely, non-clinical feel and incorporating Cornish scenes and themes into the design. We wanted to replicate this in the new delivery suite, but we needed to find better quality and more robust flooring and walling this time around, because we had a few issues with the products, which were not from Altro.
“The new delivery suite includes a high-dependency facility too, which means there is more traffic, and therefore a greater need for robust products that will perform long term. We wanted to learn by our mistakes.
“Our Estates Department Manager, Duncan Clift, recommended Altro, because he has used them before in the hospital with great success and trusts their products. At this point, every staff member in the maternity department was asked to submit their ideas for the new space, their vision, both practically and visually. It was a complete team effort and everyone was listened to. Both Altro and Eden Flooring totally understood what we wanted to achieve and went the extra mile to help and support us in bringing our vision to life.
“As a result, we continued the theme of bringing Cornwall into the space, and we did this very effectively using Altro’s product range. We chose flooring the colour of sand, blue walling to mirror the sea, grey surrounds to replicate rocks, and we created some incredible wall art of Cornish ocean scenes with Altro’s Digiclad. We have also named each room after famous places in the local landscape. The result is a beautiful, relaxing environment that plays a vital part of every baby’s start in life.”
A key part of the selection of Altro products were their proven clinical credentials. Safety, hygiene and practicality were paramount. Zoe added: “As well as visually stunning, and giving us some superb colour and style options, it was recommended that Altro products would be ideal for this environment because they are safe, robust and easy to keep clean – all vital factors.”
The Altro products used in the new delivery suite were: Altro Wood and Altro Pisces flooring; Altro Fortis wall protection; Altro Whiterock Satins and Altro Whiterock Digiclad wall sheet.
Zoe continued: “As well as the environment being transformed for the women in our care and the evidence-based positive effects this has on labour and outcomes; staff have felt a renewed satisfaction and joy in coming into work. It was quite a challenge, however, the Eden team worked tirelessly and with sensitivity of their working environment to complete the project without any adverse issues. The relationship between us was of paramount importance and I got the sense that we all enjoyed our working relationships along with the team approach that ensued.
“Since the new unit opened 18 months ago, feedback from mothers, families, staff, other hospital trusts and the medical profession has been overwhelmingly positive. We are all so proud of what we have achieved here. It’s the ideal space for bringing new babies into the world, and a complete team effort including every department and person. We were ecstatic to welcome the Princess Royal to officially open the suite and it was very important to me that she met representatives from Eden and our estates team who made it happen.
“Ultimately, it has made a huge impact on how we present ourselves corporately and our unique calming design is now being role-modelled across the wider trust and indeed others further afield. We have been approached by other trusts who have seen our Twitter activity and been suitably impressed.
“As staff, we have stopped apologising for how our maternity unit looks but instead are now celebrating the pride we have for it.”
The hospital’s Estates Manager, Duncan Clift, said: “Altro products have helped us to transform the delivery suite into something very special, and even though we had a very tight budget, we were able to completely realise our vision with what I believe are the very best products on the market. They have ticked every box for us.
“The praise and feedback across the board is testament to what a great job everyone has done.”