Help build a balcony for Chester’s Countess Charity

The charity logo

The charity logo - Credit: Archant

Five ways to support ICU patients at The Countess of Chester Hospital

Clinical staff at the hospital ask for your help
Photo: The Countess Charity

Clinical staff at the hospital ask for your help Photo: The Countess Charity - Credit: Archant

Lesley Woodhead, head of fundraising at The Countess Charity, supporting The Countess of Chester Hospital, explains how you can help celebrate its 25th anniversary and build a balcony for Intensive Care Unit patients

The Countess Charity has launched an exciting appeal to build a garden balcony on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital so our poorly patients can benefit from the outdoors in a safe and infection-controlled environment. All patients, their visitors and staff are set to benefit from this innovative improvement that will make it easier and safer to move patients outside with no loss of space to the existing unit which opened in 2014.

The Blue Skies Balcony Appeal has been launched in the 25th anniversary year of The Countess Charity. Over the years more than £16million pounds has been spent on providing more for our patients at The Countess of Chester Hospital and Ellesmere Port Hospital.

Dr Simon Ridler at the ICU
Photo: The Countess Charity

Dr Simon Ridler at the ICU Photo: The Countess Charity - Credit: Archant

The ICU has been keen to make this improvement for their patients for a couple of years and it’s a great appeal for our anniversary year. Over the last few months, there has been so much coverage of ICU units on the TV and in newspapers that we hope the Chester community will be with us in understanding why this will make such a difference. On a personal level, we all know now more than ever before, that being outside in the fresh air and natural light is key to our health and wellbeing.

The therapeutic benefits of outdoor exposure to natural light and gardens are proven not only to help to calm patients by providing opportunities for positive escape from stressful clinical settings, but it also fosters improvement in clinical outcomes, such as reducing pain medication and shortening hospital stays. We are fortunate at The Countess and Ellesmere Port Hospitals to have a lot of outdoor space and some private garden areas on the Stroke Ward, Wards 50 and 51 have The Memory Lane Garden, and Ellesmere Port Bluebell has a courtyard area.

Outdoor space is particularly important for our critical care patients who can face a long battle back to health and many weeks in hospital. It is because of this that The Countess Charity’s Blue Skies Balcony appeal has been launched. Providing our patients with the opportunity to see skies and the Countess’s much loved ‘mountain view’ will remind them of all the things they have been missing and help act as a spur to their recovery. Dr Simon Ridler, a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, who is leading the project says: “The ability to get our patients outside, however briefly, and expose them to natural light will go a long way towards improving their outcomes and their experience of critical care. Having this facility will make it much easier and safer to transfer patients outside and will potentially allow several patients to use the facility each day. It will put us in the avant-garde of intensive care units in our region.

Most Read

“Delirium in critical care is very common and we are seeing it lots in patients in ICU with Covid. People who experience delirium tend not to do as well in the long term and there are national strategies underway aiming to prevent the occurrence and reduce its duration. A key aspect of the treatment and prevention of delirium is to normalise the patient’s night and day cycle as far as possible. Exposure to natural light is fundamental to this.”

The Countess Charity swim
Photo: The Countess Charity

The Countess Charity swim Photo: The Countess Charity - Credit: Archant

ICU has historically been a very isolated and private unit due to safety and infection control. It is now believed that the clinical risks of taking a patient outside are no greater than moving their treatment to another part of the hospital, with the required life support and patient consent. Survival is only part of the journey for patients in critical care. Patients then need something to live for. By taking patients outside and giving them an experience of what they have been missing is a simple but powerful way of helping to provide for this. The balcony will also be used for rehabilitation and therapy.

Fifteen members of the incredible ICU team are taking on the challenge of swimming 500k over the next few months to raise money for the appeal. This is the equivalent of 15 times across the English Channel. You can support these heroes here and here’s...

Five ways you can help

1. Follow our Facebook page – The Countess Charity

2. Take a collecting tin for your business

3. Adopt Blue Skies Balcony as your charity of the year – we love to work with local businesses, schools and community groups

4. Join in with our fundraising activities

5. Create your own fundraising FUN at home or work


We are mostly working at home, so message us on our Facebook page or email

Comments powered by Disqus