The North East’s newest ward for older people with mental health problems will be open to the public for a sneak preview this week (Friday 28 October).

The 18-bed Cleadon ward at Monkwearmouth Hospital is the latest project by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, one of the country’s largest mental health and learning disability trusts.

The new £4.6million purpose-built ward will provide treatment and assessment for older people who have conditions such as anxiety, depression and psychosis. Members of the public and representatives from local groups are invited to get a sneak preview of the new ward during an open day on Friday 28 October, between 10am and 4pm.

Specialist features in the ward include:

–          An enclosed courtyard, with softer ground, to try to limit injury should someone fall

–          A raised flower bed so patients who have difficulty getting about can tend plants as part of occupational therapy

–          Wider corridors with anti-ligature handrails to ensure patient safety

–          Individual bedroom that have a direct line of sight to en-suite bathrooms, so patients feel as at ease as possible with their new surroundings

–          Easy access to other resources in Monkwearmouth Hospital, such as the events room (decked out to resemble  old cinema), hairdressing salon and activity kitchen

–          Furniture and artwork picked out by patients and NHS staff

The ward, adapted from what used to be Old Mill Cottage, replaces the 18-bed ward Rosewood ward in Hopewood Park in Sunderland. It will work alongside the dementia unit of Mowbray and Roker ward, the challenging behavior unit of Marsden and the Grange Day Unit already on the Monkwearmouth Hospital site to form a specialist Older Person Centre.

Clinical nurse manager Rob Bailey said: “Many of the older people we care for have experienced loss – whether that’s the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or their independence – something that can trigger mental health problems later in life.

“And because older people can also have significant physical health needs, it’s great that we now have somewhere purpose-built that can accommodate both these factors.

“Around the ward we’ve alluded to sights from around the south of the Tyne – from South Shields to Roker Lighthouse and Ryhope – so we believe Cleadon will be a really comfortable place for people to get better in.”

He added: “Both the patients and the staff are really excited about moving in. It’s a very specialised yet welcoming place, and this shows NTW’s dedication to providing the best possible care for anyone who needs us.”