Te Awhina opens first stage of refurbishment
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Following a dawn blessing on Thursday, Te Awhina staff and service users will move into the acute adult inpatient unit’s newly renovated living and sleeping facilities tomorrow marking completion of the first stage of the unit’s significant rebuild.
 
The past 14 weeks have seen the Te Awhina complex undergo major changes in terms of its floor plan, fit-out and practical improvements for staff and service users.
 
Clinical nurse manager, Mental Health Katheryn Butters says one of the more significant changes is the new patient wing with its service user-operated swipe cards, architecturally designed ensuite bathrooms and fixtures and fittings to maximise user safety and independence.
 
“All these changes are a deliberate effort to enhance people’s privacy and security, and in turn, to support their recovery process,” Ms Butters says.
 
“We also have a space designed specifically for service users who require enhanced levels of care – a space we can reconfigure as and when needed. It can be a one or two-bedroom ‘self-contained’ unit so we can be flexible and meet people’s privacy and safety needs.”
 
Ms Butters says the design process overall has been long, detailed and very inclusive with a lot of input from service users, their families and Te Awhina staff.
 
She describes it as a ‘ground-up’ process which has been very much about creating an environment where people feel respected and cared for. It’s thought that Te Awhina might be leading the way nationally by providing service users with their own swipe access to their bedrooms and other areas within the building.
 
“I’ll be honest and say that it has been challenging for the Te Awhina community to work around the disruption created by the rebuild,” Ms Butters says. “But the builders, contractors and the architect have been very responsive and obliging. Knowing how wonderful the outcome would be has made it all worthwhile. The entire Te Awhina community is thrilled with the result.”
 
The second and last stage of the renovation programme centred on the old acute wing is expected to be completed in November.