Visiting the Peaks at Rampton Hospital

by Carol Ward

Involvement Volunteer The Rosewood Centre

Instead of attending the usual Rosewood Friday Centre meeting I’m off into the Peaks Unit at Rampton with Nigel, Graham and Alan. I’m apprehensive and excited at the same time. After going through the usual security checks, we are escorted across to the Peaks. As we approach the unit I can see the enormity of the building which I’d not realised before. The building is unusual in design. It is made up of seven spires hence its name – The Peaks. The first thing I notice at the front door is pots of flowers which are cheery and a welcome sight on arrival; they immediately soften the building.

We enter via the front door and the vestibule is small but light. We sign in via the visitor’s book which is resting on a lectern which reminds me of a church setting, which is lovely too.

We then pass into the next room which has a model of the building in it. It holds little messages created by the patients that you can pick up and read before putting back for the next person to read.

We continue through locked doors into the first main bit of the building. The corridor is wide, spacious light and airy. It has a lovely feel to it and instead of feeling more nervous, I’m feeling the sense of space which is surprisingly nice.

We are met by staff and move into a nice cosy room with soft furnishings. Once we are settled, the patients are brought into the room to meet with us. We say hello. Once settled, the nurse practitioner welcomes everyone and we do a round of introductions. It strikes me how young some of the guys are, and I can’t help but wonder how they have got to this point? Some of them look pale and sleepy whilst others are vocal and more animated.

The patients talk about issues that matter to them, such as being affected by short staffing and activities being cancelled. Mary [modern matron] reminds them that they need to motivate themselves as well. I can imagine this being easier said than done. I also realise that what Mary says also needs to be heard by the patients.

Nigel [Rosewood Centre Manager] tells the patients about Rosewood and the activities that we do, both within the Centre and outreach work as well and also about the work we have been doing in other parts of Rampton Hospital.

Some of the patients leave the room to do their shopping whilst others who have done their shopping come in to replace the ones that go out to the shop! It’s good to meet them and the staff within the Peaks and a pleasant and welcoming experience. We have a chance at the end of the meeting to have a look round the hospital. Firstly we have a look in the woodwork room where we see some beautiful creations made by the patients, ranging from a wooden dolls house to beautiful wooden bowls which are very tactile. We then visit one of the wards and I see a seclusion room for the first time and it actually looks better than I thought it would. I am told by the staff that it isn’t used very often. The ward is bright and airy and the guys can freely access a small garden. The plants in the garden are colourful and cheery and there are seating areas.The hospital is working towards forming a sensory garden.

The visit has been a positive experience. Thank you to staff and patients within the Peaks – another positive learning experience. I am looking forward to more voluntary work at Rampton.

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