Northampton General Hospital ITU gets a new Relatives Room in memory of Mark Vickers
At Medigold Health, we have always thought of our business, and the people that make it, as one big family. For over 12 years, our late Chief Operating Officer, Mark Vickers, was a huge part of that family.
A highly experienced nurse, Mark originally joined us in 2007 to help us build our industry-leading nurse team. After successfully achieving that mandate, his talent, skill and profound knowledge and understanding of occupational health quickly saw him rise to the position of COO, a role in which he excelled, overseeing a period of huge growth within the company. Mark was a true gentleman – kind, supportive and never too busy for anyone. Many of us counted him as not just a colleague, but a close friend as well, which made it an even more devastating loss when, in February 2019, he suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at the age of just 50 after a period of ill health.
Following his death, at the request of Mark’s wife, Medigold Health OH Nurse Helen Vickers, we set up a Just Giving page to raise vital funds to help revitalise the family waiting areas within the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at Northampton General Hospital, where he had been cared for so diligently during his final days.
Family & Friends
At the time Mark was being treated in the unit, the family room and overnight facilities available for relatives were in dire need of improvement. As Helen describes, the space was “really quite outdated and depressing – the family area was cramped, dark, dingy, lacking in natural light and noisy.
When you are going through the worst experience of your life waiting to see whether your loved one will pull through and then being told the terrible news that they won’t make it, the last thing you want is for your environment to be adding to your distress and sadness. That’s why it was so important for us to be able to do something to help create a more comfortable, calming and uplifting space for other families and relatives going through the same situation.”
The page raised an incredible £6000, mainly through donations made by people who knew Mark through his work in occupational health, from Medigold Health friends and colleagues to clients, suppliers and competitors – a huge testament to just how well liked and respected he was on both a personal and professional level.
“The existing space was really quite outdated and depressing – the family area was cramped, dark, dingy, lacking in natural light and noisy. We wanted to do something to help create a more comfortable, calming and uplifting space for other families and relatives going through the same situation we were experiencing.”
The funds were topped up to £10,000 by Helen and in early 2020 were passed to the Northamptonshire Health Charity (the registered charity for NGH), to aid a £15.9 million grant given to the hospital through the Department of Health and Social Care to start work on upgrading the ITU itself, which was over 50 years old and had been truly outgrown by the medical team.
The brand-new state of the art unit, which features 16 specialist beds, five new specialist isolation rooms, hugely improved staff facilities and a totally revamped visitors area, was unveiled to the team, their family members and a select group of invitees, including Helen and her and Mark’s children, Daniel and Sarah, on 22nd June, before being officially opened to patients on 27th June. Seeing everything revealed for the first time was a very emotional moment for Helen, who throughout was kept involved in the design of the new family and relatives’ rooms, which have been dedicated to Mark’s memory.
Visitors are now greeted by a bright, light and airy space equipped with comfortable, modern furniture, a calming mural and plenty of room for them to stay and sleep over when they need to. There is also a specially commissioned wall chart providing clear information about the array of equipment that is used to support patients while in ITU, to help relatives understand the environment around them and how their family member is being treated.
A lasting legacy
Helen said “Mark was passionate about people. If he’d been in the ITU in different circumstances, he would definitely have looked at all the issues that were affecting the family, patients and staff and wanted to help them improve things, so he would have been so proud to see what we have helped to achieve at NGH in his name. The ITU staff there do such an important job in some of the toughest conditions, working long, long hours to care for critically ill people and provide comfort to their families. We need to make sure we care for them too.
The environment you work in really matters, it can drag you down or lift you up and I know that the changes the hospital has put in place for the team, and their patients, will give them a real boost and have a hugely positive impact on their wellbeing. It’s amazing, and such a wonderful legacy to Mark.
We miss him every day but knowing we have made a difference and made him proud really helps.”
As a business, we echo Helen’s thoughts and we cannot think of a more fitting tribute for Mark, a man who was always there to give comfort and care to people when they needed it most.
“We miss him every day but knowing we have made a difference and made him proud really helps.”
To read more about the new ITU and the difference that the money raised through Medigold Health by Mark’s family and friends has made, check out the links below:
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