A multi-million pound health ‘haven’ being launched to provide vital care for older generations in South Tyneside has moved another step closer to completion.
Haven Court, a £9m integrated health and social care hub, is set to swing open its doors this summer - and health bosses and council chiefs marked the moment with a tree planting ceremony.
Our older people and their families can be assured of a safe, welcoming and stimulating environment.Councillor Tracey Dixon
Work on the centre, which is being built by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of South Tyneside Council, got under way last May.
Haven Court, which is being built on the grounds of South Tyneside Hospital, will deliver integrated health and social care services for older people, particularly those with dementia, and their carers and families, to enable them to live independently for as long as possible.
Dr Bob Brown, the trust’s Executive Director for Nursing and Patient Safety, planted a tree of the fast-developing site alongside councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing for South Tyneside Council.
The facility will boast a wide variety of features, such as seating and footpath routes, aimed at encouraging patients and visitors to make the most of the external environment, whether for exercise or for reflection and privacy.
Generous areas of sensory planting, providing colour, texture, scent and, in the case of ornamental grasses, movement, add to the relaxing setting, while level changes and winding footpaths offer opportunities for exercise, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
Dr Brown said: “It is very exciting to see the outside spaces coming together, signalling that Haven Court is nearing completion. The external environment is vitally important to a centre such as this. The therapeutic benefits of safe, attractive and carefully planned outside spaces, with the opportunities they provide for exercise, relaxation and fresh air, are well-known. They can help older people to maintain an active lifestyle and support their physical and emotional wellbeing.”
Haven Court’s services will include residential, day and respite care and rehabilitation. It will also offer information and advice, and help to use technological aids to support independent living. The services will be provided by a range of partners including South Tyneside Council, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, other local Trusts and the charity sector.
Councillor Dixon said: “We wanted innovative design to be a key feature of this development when we put out the tender so it is wonderful to see that unfold before our eyes.
“The gardens – and indeed the whole development – have been created with our ageing population in mind to encourage confidence and independence. By using the latest research and expertise, our older people and their families and carers can be assured of a safe, welcoming and stimulating environment at Haven Court.”
The decision to build Haven Court was taken in the light of South Tyneside’s ageing population.
Currently, older people make up 18 per cent of the Borough’s population but this is estimated to rise to 21 per cent by 2021.
By 2030, there is expected to be a 50 per cent rise in the cases of dementia and a 138 per cent increase among those aged over 90.