Remembering Through a Tree of Life

Patients with Covid-19 who were cared for in Ward A31 at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are being recognised and remembered through a new Tree of Life mural which has been installed as a backdrop on one of the full-length windows in the ward.

Around 100 green and amber leaves have been applied to the branches, green representing those who have recovered and returned home, amber remembering those who sadly lost their lives.

Ward A31 was one of the designated Covid-19 wards in Forth Valley Royal Hospital and local staff wanted to come up with a way of acknowledging and remembering all of the patients who had been cared for on the ward throughout the pandemic. Medical, nursing staff and managers discussed the idea of a permanent reminder and the Tree of Life, which can be seen at the end of the main ward corridor, was chosen to represent what has been one of the most difficult times for the NHS. The innovative idea has received an excellent response across the hospital.

NHS Forth Valley’s Clinical Ward Manager, Rosario Walshe, said: “At times, particularly in the beginning, it was pretty hard and I think staff have coped very well as a team. Many of our patients were extremely ill. It was harrowing and emotional but we pulled together and have been very supportive of each other.

“Our first patient was allowed a visit from her family which happened to take place on Mother’s Day. They waved at her through the glass for what they thought would be the last time but miraculously she recovered and went home.

“We wanted to dedicate this tree to all of the people who have been affected, patients, their families, friends and loved ones. Covid-19 is something which will probably stay with people for years to come and this is one way that memories of this difficult time can be enshrined.”

Throughout the pandemic local staff have lined up to clap and say goodbye to patients who have recovered. They will also continue to add leaves to the tree although thankfully the number of patients admitted with Covid-19 has fallen significantly in recent weeks.