Dr Kershaw’s new in-patient unit opens to community after pandemic delays

After a five-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Kershaw’s new state-of-the-art in-patient unit has opened, offering modern facilities for the local community.

With more than 30 years providing free end-of-life and palliative care, the Royton-based Hospice has transformed itself from a dated cottage hospital building to a modern facility offering patients a 21st century home from home.

Despite unprecedented Covid delays and a financial shortfall to the project which pushed back the opening by five months, the £3.5 million in-patient unit opened its doors on February 15.

The facility will enable the Hospice to provide compassionate, dignified care for up to 12 patients with life-limiting illnesses in a modern environment.

It has eight single and two twin rooms, all with en-suite facilities, their own smart TV, a coffee table, lounge chairs and an integral fitted storage unit. Each room has its own private patio area, with the majority having glass double doors overlooking the grounds, which are currently being landscaped.

At the heart of the unit is the family lounge, with furnishings funded by the Hospice’s ‘Furnish with Love’ appeal. Featuring sofas, dining facilities and a bespoke kitchen, the lounge is available for patients to relax and spend time in with their families outside their rooms.

Joanne Sloan, Chief Executive at Dr Kershaw’s, commented: “We couldn’t be happier with our new facility. It has definitely been worth the wait. The unit is bright, with lots of natural light and is a huge step forward from our old ward.”

Other features include two new accessible patient bathrooms along with a relatives room. The patient bathrooms feature specialist bathtubs, as many of the Hospice’s patients would be unable to use standard wash facilities.

The relatives room will allow family and friends to stay overnight or take a few hours to relax and recharge their batteries during the day, to be close to their loved ones at Dr Kershaw’s.

To accommodate the completion of the new facility, Dr Kershaw’s took its clinical provision into the community with its Hospice at Home service last October.

Now the team, who cared for 556 patients in 2020 both in the Hospice and the community, are back on the ward providing specialised care and support, giving patients the choice of being cared for at home or the new unit.

Dr Matthias Hohmann, the Hospice’s Medical Director, works with the nurses at the unit to provide individualised care for each patient.

He said: “The new facility is incredible. It’s a much brighter, aesthetically pleasing environment to be cared for in, but we also now have access to a number of new technologies which will support the clinical team to make each patient’s care journey exceptional and a new central nursing station to optimise patient care coordination.

“Our first patients through the door, and their families, have been impressed with both the stunning features of the new ward along with the clinical options readily to hand.”

Michael O’Connor, 53, was one of the first patients admitted to unit for pain management.

He said: “I was apprehensive about going to a new facility but when I arrived at Dr Kershaw’s I soon realised there was no need to be.

“The facilities are fantastic, my room was comfortable and it felt homely, something that means a lot when you’re away from home. Two members of my family were allowed to visit me and were made to feel at home also.

“The care I received was second to none. I have never known care like this – nothing is too much trouble for the staff.”

Dr Kershaw’s is now turning its attention to the next phase of the development, which is the landscaping of the gardens. Once complete the outdoor spaces will provide a beautiful setting with seating areas and walkways for patients and their families to spend time in.

Joanne added: “Dr Kershaw’s Hospice would like to thank everyone who has supported our new build project and made our vision of the new in-patient unit into a reality.

“Thank you to each and every donor, the contractors who have worked tirelessly throughout the major construction project and the community who have all made our new build possible.

“Due to Covid, we won’t yet be able to hold the official launch but we look forward to welcoming you all back to the Hospice when we are able to share our fantastic new build and celebrate the future of Dr Kershaw’s.”

A full list of credits of those who have supported the Hospice’s new build project is available on their in-patient unit virtual tour on the Hospice’s social media channels or website: www.drkh.org.uk

Find out more about Dr Kershaw’s, make a donation or take part in fundraising, call the Fundraising Team on 0161 624 9984 or visit www.drkh.org.uk

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