'Living tiles' providing visual escapism for spinal injury patients at Shropshire hospital

Spinal injury patients at Shropshire's orthopaedic hospital are no longer looking up at a plain ceiling – thanks to tiles that can display pictures of their loved ones or a range of moving scenes.

From left, Stacey Keegan, chief nurse, patient Faisal Jama and Rebecca Warren, MCSI ward manager
From left, Stacey Keegan, chief nurse, patient Faisal Jama and Rebecca Warren, MCSI ward manager

The League of Friends at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) has bought the three stunning tiles to benefit spinal injury patients at the hospital, near Oswestry.

The Living Ceiling tiles from Sky Inside UK have been installed on Wrekin Ward on the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI), where patients who are confined to strict bed rest will benefit from them.

The tiles reimagine the skies and display a range of moving scenes, from cloud scenes with hot air balloons to starry night skies.

The luminous sky ceilings display real-time, moving images that look just like the outside world.

They use a circadian rhythm programming that emulates dawn to dusk, which will help to regulate a patient’s body clock.

Patients are also able to choose from a range of static images and can personalise these by connecting their phone to the device - viewing images of their loved ones if they wish.

The Living Ceiling tiles cost just under £21,000.

The hospital Friends part funded this project with a grant from the Morrisons Foundation of £17,000.

The foundation supports charities making a positive difference in local communities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Rebecca Warren, MCSI ward manager, said: “When patients are admitted onto Wrekin Ward they spend on average six weeks on bed rest – that’s six weeks of staring up at the same white ceiling tiles. This is a big ask for our patients, we ask to ensure the best possible outcome but we know this is difficult, especially following a life changing injury.

“We’re over the moon to have these Living Ceiling tiles in place. They will be hugely beneficial to our patients; enhancing their experience on the ward, along with their physical and mental wellbeing.

“I was very emotional when I first looked up at the ceiling because I know this will help our patients immensely and they truly deserve such an experience. Our patients’ reactions to the ceiling makes me feel very proud.”

The driving force behind this project was Kate Betts, physiotherapy rehabilitation technician on MCSI.

Kate said: “I realised something must be done to help keep patients on strict bed rest stimulated after having a conversation with a patient who told me he’d counted how many 90 degree angles he could see on the ceiling.

“Being on bed rest can be very restrictive and many people find it difficult to cope both physically and emotionally. This time can become even more frustrating if you are unable to move your arms to access a mobile phone, or tablet devices.

“When I discovered Sky Inside UK, I approached the League of Friends for funding assistance and I would like to say a huge thank you to them for supporting this project. Without the dedication, hard work and generosity of the League we would not have been able to enhance our patients’ experience in such an important way.”

Victoria Sugden, charity director for the Friends, said: “Seeing the absolute delight on the faces of the patients and staff on the installation of these tiles has been a joy! To be able to help support the wellbeing and mental health of patients in this way is really wonderful.

“The League of Friends are thrilled to be able to support this project and we cannot thank the Morrisons Foundation enough for their funding.”

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