Children’s cancer charity LATCH confirms £1.4 million refurbishment of Rainbow Ward

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) is pleased to announce funding of £1.4 million from Welsh children’s cancer charity, LATCH, for the refurbishment of Rainbow Ward at the Children’s Hospital for Wales.

Rainbow Ward is the lead centre for paediatric oncology in South and West Wales, caring for children and young people with cancer and leukaemia, aged from birth up to 13. It is an extremely important place, with specialist doctors, nurses and LATCH support workers building close relationships with children and their families spending long lengths of time on the unit, months at a time in many cases. The staff on the ward take pride in creating a family atmosphere for those in their care.

The ward has 9 beds and an additional 6 Rainbow Daybeds for patients needing daily treatments such as chemotherapy, blood transfusions and investigations. An anaesthetic room and theatre are also available for treatments that require general anaesthetic. Each area has their own playroom and play specialist. Over time the ward has naturally become tired and difficult to maintain without significant investment.

The generous funding from LATCH will allow much needed upgrades to be completed, creating a comfortable space for patients and their families. LATCH has a long standing relationship with Rainbow Ward, providing support for children and families across Wales who are receiving treatment for cancer at the Children’s Hospital for Wales.

Jan Janczewski, Chair of Cardiff and Vale UHB, said: “Rainbow Ward provides exceptional care to children and their families during extremely challenging times, our team of dedicated staff underpin this. The ward has become increasingly difficult to maintain over time and advances in healthcare technologies present us with new opportunities to elevate the care we provide. On behalf of the Health Board, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to LATCH for this significant donation to refurbish Rainbow Ward, in addition to the ongoing vital support the charity provides for children and families in our care.”

Susan Gwyer-Roberts, Executive Chair of LATCH, commented: “When a child is diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia, this has a devastating impact on any family. With months, sometimes years of treatment it is an emotional rollercoaster for families. Families spend significant time on Rainbow Ward at the Children’s Hospital for Wales. Through LATCH’s work with the Health Board, the trustees have become very aware of the impact that the upgrade could have, not only to enhancing care provision for patients and families but also making the environment appropriate for the wellbeing of the medical and support staff.”

As part of the radical plans to transform the ward, additional single-unit beds will be created to offer privacy and to help prevent the spread of infections to immunosuppressed children. A new large playroom and family room are also included in the new design to provide much needed breakaway areas away from clinical settings. Ambient lighting and entertainment systems will be installed to help create a calm and comfortable environment for children and their families. Staff will also benefit from new working areas positioned at the centre of the ward to enhance how they can respond to the needs of children in their care. The build will also see state-of-the-art healthcare technologies installed and maintained as part of the programme.

Work has commenced on the refurbishment and is estimated to complete as soon as autumn this year.