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A kind-hearted Maidstone Hospital worker has transformed a room used by the relatives of seriously ill patients to help provide a more comfortable environment.

Debbie Stansfield, who works as an Assistant Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support at the hospital, along with two of her friends, spent £1,800 of their own money on new furnishings for the Intensive Care Unit’s (ICU) relatives’ room which is used for overnight stays (prior to the pandemic) or as a private space where clinicians can speak to family members about the care of their loved one.

Before the makeover the room only had a settee and a bed in it. Now, thanks to the trio’s generosity, the room boasts two new recliner armchairs, curtains, cushions, wall art, a coffee table, a clock, storage stalls which contain new pillows and blankets, a kettle, a lamp, a radio, a diffuser, plus a new cupboard for storing new mugs as well as refreshments such as tea and coffee.

Maria Crittenden, Matron for ICU, said: “The staff on ICU had wanted to spruce the room up for quite a while but never got round to it and then the pandemic happened.

“Thanks to Debbie and her friends it is now a space we are proud of. What they have done is absolutely amazing. The once drab and dreary room is now comfortable and relaxing and we can’t thank them enough.  What makes it even more special is the fact they paid for the items themselves! We are extremely grateful to them.”

Debbie said: “I was helping out on ICU when it moved to the former Acute Medical Unit (AMU) during the pandemic. I was not only looking after the staff by ensuring they took breaks and making them refreshments, but also talking to and comforting relatives after they had said goodbye to their loved one just moments before they sadly passed away.

“I knew there was a relatives’ room on the original ICU and that it was in need of some tender loving care so I said I would take a look at it and see what I could do once ICU moved back to its original ward.

“When I looked at it, it was clear that it was in desperate need of some creature comforts which I know can make all the difference to relatives during what can be a traumatic time in their life. I’m so pleased with how the room looks now and that my friends and I were able to help make a difference.”

It’s not the first time Debbie has carried out a transformation project at Maidstone Hospital for the benefit of patients and visitors though. Back in June last year Debbie arranged for Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) to refill the pond in the courtyard garden of the Kent Oncology Centre, using water donated by South East Water, after she and a group of volunteers drained and cleaned it. The team also re-painted the existing garden furniture, cleared the flower beds, and planted new flowers. You can find out more about the project here.