The wheels have been set in motion to equip the new emergency department at Airedale Hospital.

A £100,000 appeal has been started to raise funds for three distraction walls for the children’s assessment and treatment areas, resources to help patients with dementia and state-of-the-art equipment to improve care for the thousands of people who will use the department each year.

Meg Crossley, consultant in emergency medicine at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Equipment such as distraction walls is so important for children who find coming into hospital, particularly in an emergency situation, quite frightening. They will be wall-to-ceiling and play a vital role in helping parents entertain their child if they become agitated or distressed.”

The new emergency department at the hospital in Steeton is expected to cost £6 million and be open in October.

It will provide separate adult and children’s waiting areas, a quiet room for friends and families to use during stressful events and better privacy and dignity for vulnerable patients and their families and carers.

Barbara Hodkinson, founder and co-ordinator of the national Butterfly Scheme, which helps hospital staff to care for and improve the health and well-being for patients with dementia, said: “Family carers find the process of supporting someone with dementia in a typical A&E environment extremely challenging.

“By creating a calmer, more reassuring area we can help patients to cope better and that improves the chance of successful care.

“Through its Emergency Department Appeal, Airedale is showing how forward-thinking it is in making the A&E experience kinder and more supportive for these vulnerable patients.”

Ann Christian, of LCF law in Ilkley, which is backing the appeal, said: “We support a variety of national charities but wanted to become particularly involved in a local charity where we could really make a difference. I’ve seen first-hand how good the distraction walls are when I’ve taken my own children into hospital.”

In 2013/14, 53,489 people visited the A&E Department and of those 5,012 were aged five and under. On a busy day, the department can deal with more than 200 patients.

For more details about the appeal call (01535) 294546 or e-mail charitable.funds@anhst.nhs.