VW Bro Roger Pemberton, Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Shropshire, writes of an initiative just launched by Shropshire’s Freemasons at the Poppy Lounge, Sheldon Ward, ROBERT JONES AND AGNES HUNT HOSPITAL, Oswestry
The Sheldon Ward at the Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital looks after elderly patients who have recently undergone surgical procedures and who need a little time in rehabilitation before they are ready to return to their homes. Occasionally patients are admitted who are suffering from vascular and other forms of dementia which severely impair their cognitive faculties.
Sister Jackie Barry and her team were anxious to make a corner of Sheldon Ward more amenable and less clinical in order to assist elderly patients with severe memory loss by providing a comfortable, homely atmosphere with a real fireplace, pictures on the wall and a ‘memory trunk’ filled with memory aids to help them join past and present.
Sister Barry knew that patients with dementia were less likely to be confused and disoriented in an environment that reminded them of home, thus speeding the rehabilitation process. The problem was that she didn’t have the money to accomplish her dream.
A telephone call to the Shropshire Masonic Charitable Association brought immediate results. A grant of £3,000 was quickly delivered and work began on changing a plain and poky area of the ward into a warm and friendly relaxation lounge. Sister Barry chose the name The Poppy Lounge because she says, 'Poppies are all about remembrance and that is what we want to restore to our patients, a link with their own past.'
On 19th December 2014, the President of the Shropshire Masonic Charitable Association, W Bro John Williamson cut the ribbon at the official opening. Present on the occasion were Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Peter Taylor and Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Roger Pemberton as well many representatives of the staff and patient support groups of the hospital.
The Poppy Lounge, decorated with pictures of poppies and butterflies, will undoubtedly hasten recovery for many patients. Sister Jackie Barry gave a short speech at the opening saying, 'We are so grateful to the Masons for helping us to achieve our Poppy Lounge. With their help and with the help of others we are able to benefit our patients’ recovery and get them back home where they want to be, so much more quickly.'