A NEW ward which specialises in neurological rehabilitation has opened in Kendray Hospital to help people with brain tumours and spinal injuries.

The Neurological Rehabilitation ward - run by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - has four bedrooms equipped with a special control panel which enables patients to open and close their curtains, work their television, switch on lights and call for assistance – using just their eyes.

Spokesman Anne Massey said: "The neurological rehabilitation team look after a very specialist group of patients, often for a number of months.

"Many of these patients are in a low awareness state when they arrive as a result of their injuries and can therefore find communication difficult or impossible.

"A person arriving here with, for example, a traumatic brain injury or ‘locked-in syndrome‘, may have very limited capabilities; patients may also be physically unable to move through injury. The new equipment means that they are able to do some things for themselves – an independence which is valued – whilst also being able to call for assistance even when unable to speak or move."

The new ward – a refurbishment of an existing ward with additional extension work – cost £1.8m and will benefit around 85 patients a year, including longer-term patients who will spend much of the year there.

New facilities include a kitchen – designed to support the rehabilitation of patients by providing an environment similar to that found in the home – and a gym for physiotherapy.