A service user at Cardiff’s Pinetree Hospital who thought she would never get the chance to wear a prom dress had her dream come true recently, thanks to the staff at the specialist hospital who pulled out all the stops to make her fantasy a reality.
Louise, 41, who is receiving specialist rehabilitation support from the service that provides person-centred care for adults with learning disabilities and other mental health disorders, recently shared her dream with a staff member.
Whilst on a therapy dog walk with Paul Sutton, one of the managers at Ludlow Street Healthcare which runs Pinetree, the pair passed a prom dress shop near the hospital and, seeing the dazzling array of clothes in the window, Lou confided her lifelong ambition to wear a prom dress.
Keen to make Lou’s dream a reality, Paul shared his idea for a prom dress photoshoot with the management team, who offered to purchase the dress, accessories and props needed to give her a moment she’d never forget.
Supported by Pinetree’s Hospital Director, Julie Nolloth, Lou picked out a dress, shoes, tiara, and wig. Lou’s Primary Care Nurse, Carol Davies, was tasked with transforming a conference room into a makeshift prom venue, complete with balloon arch and other props, including a bicycle with basket. A photographer was also hired to capture Lou’s special day.
Speaking about the experience, Lou said: “It really was the best day of my life. I’ve always dreamed of wearing a prom dress and I felt like an absolute princess. They even printed out my pictures for me to display in my room and created a photobook for me to look back on my special day. I’ll forever remember it and be grateful.”
Paul Sutton, Quality and Development Manager at Ludlow Street Healthcare, said: “It was our absolute pleasure to help Lou realise her dream of picking out and wearing a prom dress.
“When Lou mentioned how she had always longed to wear a prom dress when we walked past the dress shop, I just knew we had to make it happen somehow.
“So many people within the company and at Pinetree have been involved in setting up the entire day, so it was a real collaborative effort. Our service users are at the absolute heart of everything we do and I’m so glad we were able to put such a big smile on her face and give her such lovely memories to look back on.”
Set up in 2005 by healthcare specialists, South Wales-based Ludlow Street Healthcare specialises in providing care for adults over the age of 18 with complex mental health problems, autism, learning disabilities, and neuropsychiatric conditions including dementia and acquired brain injuries.
Since its inception, Ludlow Street Healthcare has supported and cared for over 800 people, working in partnership with the NHS, developing services and investing in the necessary health infrastructure and staff training, to support patients on their journey to recovery and a more independent and fulfilling life, through step-down to community living – improving social integration and inclusion.