A new Paediatric Ambulatory Near Discharge Area – known as the PANDA unit – has been officially opened at Leeds Children’s Hospital by BBC Yorkshire news presenter Charlotte Leeming.

PANDA is a new dedicated space on Ward L40 aimed particularly at younger patients who are preparing to go home.

Charlotte Leeming, a long standing friend of the ward, was guest of honour at the opening and presented the team with artwork created by her husband, Justin, donated to brighten up the area.

The PANDA unit will allow patients who are well enough to go home but are waiting to be discharged leave their beds sooner, giving them more room to play. This means that sick children from elsewhere in the hospital will have access to a bed and eases patient flow through departments.

Patients who have to visit hospital daily for IV medication will also make use of the area, allowing them to have the consistency of returning to the same department.

The unit has a television and the latest video games to keep children occupied, as well as access to the playroom on the ward. Those young patients who are waiting will have snacks and meals during the day as normal.

During the evening PANDA becomes a quiet space for teenagers on the wards to watch television and play games before going to bed.

Ward Manager Clare Hazlegreaves said: “I am especially proud of the way the team have embraced this new way of working. The main emphasis of the unit will be to ensure sick children can move quickly from paediatric A&E and assessment to an inpatient bed.”

Sally Counsell, staff nurse leading the project, said: “This unit gives children a dedicated area where they can have fun while they wait to go home. PANDA has everything they need prior to leaving the Children’s Hospital, and means that they can play rather than being confined to their beds. It also means sick children are able to get the care they need quicker.”

Charlotte Leeming said “It’s wonderful to see what the team here at the LGI have done with the space. I feel this is going to make a real difference to how children in Leeds experience being discharged and their return home.

“Spending any amount of time in hospital can be really stressful for kids, and having to wait to go home on a ward just adds to this. PANDA will now give young patients an environment where they can at least enjoy themselves while they wait.”

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