The work is nearly complete, the patients are settled and comfortable - and now a final push is needed to help St Luke’s Hospice raise the money for its new inpatient unit.
The Room To Care appeal to build the £5 million wing officially started one-and-a-half years ago, and now people receiving end-of-life care at the hospice, on Little Common Lane, Whirlow, are enjoying plush new surroundings.
Peter Hartland, chief executive of St Luke’s, said he was ‘unbelievably grateful’ to fundraisers for their efforts so far in making the 20-bed unit a reality.
But he added: “We hope to be completed in March next year, but what we still have to do is raise the final element of the £5 million. We feel positive that we will get there.”
A completely new building has been constructed at one end of the hospice, while the old inpatient ward has been brought up to a higher standard, creating a seamless feel between the two sections.
Each bedroom boasts a host of fresh features - from en-suite bathrooms to flatscreen TVs, armchair beds and individual heating controls.
“We’ve made the rooms feel personalised for the patients, so they don’t feel institutionalised,” said deputy chief executive Judith Park.
“It’s much better - a light, bright unit. We’ve totally lost the hospital atmosphere.”
Judith said she was particularly proud of the spa room, which has a large, hot-tub style bath as its centrepiece.
The spa’s ceiling can also be illuminated with coloured lights, reminiscent of a starry sky.
“We can’t take away what’s happening to a patient, but we can add quality to their life,” the deputy chief continued.
The refurbishment extends to the viewing room on the lower ground floor, where relatives can see loved ones after they have died.
“It’s a nice, peaceful space which maintains patients’ and families’ privacy and dignity,” said Judith.
The decision to revamp St Luke’s came after the Care Quality Commission watchdog described the facilities as ‘tired’, ‘aged’ and ‘failing to meet current best practice guidance’.
“It’s about future-proofing,” said Judith.
“We recently had a good inspection which looked at the fabric of the building, so if we did well when it was part-building site, we’d anticipate to build on that.
“With dying, you don’t get a second chance. You have to make it as special as it can be.”
Meanwhile Peter said future plans include providing more services in the community.
“Our ambition is that now we’ve sorted out our work creating this fabulous new inpatient centre, we can expand our activity in a community setting, so more people suffering at home have the opportunity to be supported by St Luke’s together with other healthcare professionals.
“We know not everybody is in a position to offer huge amounts of money, but really it’s a case of every little helps. “
Visit www.stlukeshospice.org.uk to donate.