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Celebration to officially open Elizabeth Court

14 May 24

A celebration event has been held to mark the official opening of Elizabeth Court, an inpatient unit providing mental health support to older people by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), in Stevenage.

The ribbon was cut by HPFT Chief Executive Karen Taylor to tie in with Dementia Action Week. Older people have similar mental health needs to people of a working age, although some illnesses (such as dementia) are more prevalent. Services are, therefore, provided in a different way to take account of older people's additional needs.

Karen Taylor was joined by staff from the unit, service users and invited guests including representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society, Hertfordshire County Council and Carers in Herts.

Elizabeth Court has been officially reopened following a £2.5m investment in estate works to improve the facilities and fabric of the building. 27 service users are now enjoying a light, welcoming and dementia friendly environment. There are bright designs and murals on the walls which include bubbles and turtles in the bathrooms and a calming woodland scene in the communal area.

There have also been significant improvements made to the garden, creating a therapeutic and secure space for service users and their families to enjoy together.

While the unit was being refurbished, service users were accommodated in neighbouring Victoria Court.  Fiona McMillan-Shields, HPFT Managing Director, described the moving days as ‘seamless’.

“I want to thank all of the staff involved in the move as well as during the run up. Staff spent important time with service users and carers beforehand, helping to familiarise them with the new unit and they also showed real commitment by volunteering for additional shifts over this period. Managing the clinical risk involved in moving vulnerable service users was also an important factor in the move but the whole team worked together and did a fantastic job which has been greatly appreciated by service users and their families and carers.”

HPFT is actively engaged in the planning, delivery and implementation of the dementia strategy for Hertfordshire. This includes addressing health inequalities and allowing improved access to care and treatment for people with cognitive impairment across health and social care environments.

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