Not many people can say they enjoy going to hospital, but as a child I loved my time at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital. The environment was so kid-friendly that I remember being upset when Doctors didn’t need to keep me in overnight after a blood test. The nurses were lovely, the toy-filled wards were fun, and the post-operation supply of ice cream was every kid’s dream.
Alder Hey has come a long way since I last visited to have my tonsils out back in the 90s. In fact the whole building has been rebuilt since then and replaced with a brand new hospital (which patients helped to design!), including a state of the art educational centre called the Institute in the Park.
Alder Hey Charity & Institute in the Park
The Alder Hey charity is vital to the running of Alder Hey children’s hospital. Since 2013 they’ve raised an astounding £22million. This ongoing support helps fund the latest lifesaving machines and treatments that enable Alder Hey hospital to give the best care possible to their young patients. But having the newest technology and medicine wasn’t enough for Alder Hey. They’ve taken things a step further with their new, on-site educational facility.
The Institute in the Park is what makes the new Alder Hey development extra special. This ultra-modern research, education and innovation facility was opened last year in conjunction with the University of Liverpool. It provides students with a unique work space where they can easily collaborate with medical professionals, patients and research companies from the medicine and technology worlds.
Alder Hey Charity helps to fund everything from the research centre to the meals the patients eat. Each ward in Alder Hey has it’s very own chef and on-demand food service. This allows children to choose the times they eat. Times that will work around any treatments or surgeries they’re undergoing. A healthy diet is essential for recovery, and so the hospital chefs are available whenever the child needs them.
There are also exciting plans to put a musician on every ward. I’m a self-confessed music-nut who’s convinced that music saves lives, so I was happy to read that Alder Hey believes so too. Music has the power to speed up recovery and help children enjoy their stays at the hospital even more.
Leading the way with innovative technology
This is the part that excites me most about about the Institute in the Park. Their passion for the future of medical technology is massive. In 2016 they became the UK’s first cognitive hospital by implementing the super-smart Artificial Intelligence, IBM Watson. It’s been reported that IBM Watson can diagnose cancer hundreds of times faster than a human doctor can. Although Alder Hey won’t be using Watson to diagnose (yet?), it’s on-board to assist with other aspects of patient care. You can learn more in this video:
In 2015, Alder Hey partnered with Sony to bring new technologies to Alder Hey that will help staff and patients alike.
A fun example of Sony’s work at Alder Hey is their digital fish tank. Developed to help anxious children who are afraid of having surgery, the huge “tank” allows children to create their own sea creatures and watch them come to life on screen. These technologies are an exciting distraction for scared children which can reduce stress and even the perception of pain.
It’s not all about having fun though. Alder Hey uses Sony’s latest medical technology solutions to help surgeons communicate important information to each other faster; to deliver HD lessons to students and professionals training at the hospital and even stream live surgery in ultra-HD. Essential for helping medical professionals become knowledgeable on the latest skills and techniques.
Learn more about what innovations Sony have brought to the hospital below:
Ways you can help Alder Hey Charity
Alder Hey hospital is one of a kind and provides so much more than what I’ve mentioned here. Their goal – stated by their one of their directors in the above video – is to be the become the best hospital in the world. They’re not messing around! Of course, they can’t do it alone and rely on ongoing financial support from the public to keep doing their amazing work.
There are loads of ways you can help out; like playing the Alder Hey Charity Lottery for £1 a week (They have a weekly £1000 prize guys!), or adopting one of their funky Roost creatures. Head over to the Alder Hey fund-raising page to learn more and follow Alder Hey Children’s Charity on Twitter to keep up with their latest news.
Have you ever stayed at Alder Hey? I’d love to hear your tales below 🙂