A DESIGNATED garden area has been opened at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to provide a peaceful haven for staff and patients.

The courtyard garden, found on the ground floor of the women and children’s unit, has been redesigned to offer a pleasant and calming space.

This space can be used by ICU staff during breaks as well as by patients looking to spend some time outdoors in the fresh air to support recovery and wellbeing.

The redesign saw new paving laid to enable wheelchair or bed bound patients to be taken outside. Electric sockets have been installed so that ventilators can be charged if required.

Four raised plant beds have been put in place to grow flowers, vegetables, fruit and herbs to improve the general ambience of the garden.

During bad weather, a gazebo has been erected for people to use for shelter as well as a variety of outdoor furniture.

Alison McBride, head of midwifery and department manager at Forth Valley, praised the garden’s redevelopment.

She said: “Prior to the project, the courtyard area was underused and unappealing, however, staff, patients and visitors came together at monthly drop-in sessions to share their ideas of what they would like to see in the space.

“The feedback from local staff and patients has been fantastic and many say they feel much calmer sitting in the courtyard area now as they find the colours and sounds very relaxing.”

The garden was funded by an NHS Charities Together Covid-19 recovery grant and was developed by colleagues from the women and children’s ICU.