FWP designed £2m specialist reablement unit opens to hospital patients

A new £2million specialist reablement unit designed by leading architecture, design and master planning practice FWP has been officially opened at Leigh Infirmary.

The Jean Heyes Reablement Unit has been named after a former nurse who was a passionate supporter of reablement care.

The FWP designed dementia friendly facility is made up of 24 beds, including four single rooms, a dedicated rehab gym and an ‘activities of daily living’ kitchen to support intensive reablement therapy.

It is the latest in a line of high-profile, state-of-the-art medical facilities delivered by FWP’s expert team in the North West of England.

The unit is dedicated to the holistic assessment and treatment of frail and elderly patients and focuses on their physical health and social and emotional wellbeing, with the aim of helping them recover and return home more quickly in a safe and supported manner.

Care is being delivered by a range of health and social care professionals including therapists, nurses, GPs, hospital consultants, and social care staff.

FWP led on the refurbishment of a former mental health ward at the hospital for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), with construction work carried out by Preston based Huck Construction.

Building engineering consultant Blezard, also based in the city, carried out the mechanical and electrical (M&E) design and delivery work on the project.

The unit, which supports individuals who are medically well enough to be discharged from hospital, but who require a period of bed-based, nurse and therapy led rehabilitation, was officially opened at a ceremony attended by the family of former Wigan Borough nurse Jean Heyes and local dignitaries including Leigh MP James Grundy.

Phil Nealen, partner and health lead at FWP, said: “We’re delighted that the unit has now been officially opened.”

“Working closely with the trust, our aim throughout the refurbishment project was to create a facility that is both warm and welcoming and has a distinctly homely and non-clinical feel throughout.

“To that end, our design work included the creation of lounges, craft spaces, a special kitchen and dining spaces, all with the aim of delivering a positive environment for rehabilitation.

“We believe the result is a stand-out facility that will give people the opportunity to make the most of their potential to continue to live independent and fulfilling lives.”

Tim Gilmore, head of design services at Blezard, said: “This was a challenging project from an M&E view, upgrading what was an old building. Our work included creating a new ventilation system as well as power and lighting. We worked very closely with the design team to deliver.”

Mark Jones, Chair of WWL, said: “With the wellbeing of patients and staff always at the forefront of her working life, Jean was a real character and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her. It is our honour to name the unit after Jean, as part of her legacy to healthcare throughout the Wigan Borough.

“I was delighted to formally invite Jean’s family to officially open the unit, and also to have such esteemed guests from the Healthier Wigan Partnership and our MP for Leigh, James Grundy, in attendance.

“The unit is just one part of our plans to further invest in services at Leigh for the benefit of all of our patients across the Wigan Borough.”

WWL chief executive Silas Nicholls said: “The Jean Heyes Reablement Unit is something the entire Wigan Borough can be proud of. The collective skills and knowledge we have within a multi-disciplinary team, made up of colleagues from partners across health and social care services means we can use this fantastic new facility to its full potential.”

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector. It has a successful track record of delivering health projects in the North West over the last 25 years.

The practice recently worked with the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust to create a new rehabilitation centre in Wesham. The £9.4m project received a prestigious national design award earlier this year.

FWP also successfully delivered a new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and redesigned the Skylark Centre in Preston. That rehabilitation unit at Royal Preston Hospital is now helping patients recovering from mental health conditions regain the skills associated with day-to-day living.

Earlier this year the FWP team also delivered a specialist centre that provides family support through grief and bereavement. The new ‘Forget Me Not’ centre at St John’s Hospice in Lancaster is now open and offers whole family support.

FWP is a RIBA chartered practice as well as being CHAS and ISO 9001 accredited. It offers architecture, M&E design, structural engineering, interior design, building surveying, project management, quantity surveying and CDM consultancy services.