The Gazette today launches a major new appeal to help make our hospices fit for the 21st century.
For almost 30 years, Trinity Hospice and Brian House have been a byword for heart-warming care, compassion and dignity.
Millions of pounds have been raised by Fylde folk to help build, maintain and staff these wonderful establishments in Bispham.
They are Fylde and Wyre’s only adult and children’s hospices and hundreds of families rely on their services every year.
But three decades on from the opening of Trinity these establishments need your help.
While the nursing staff and all round medical care remains first class, the buildings themselves are tired and in need of modernisation.
More single rooms are needed, public areas require redesigning to make the building easier to navigate.
Lighting, new windows and redecoration are also desperately needed.
It is a major task – it will cost around £500,00 to bring the hospices up to a modern standard.
Trinity and Brian House chiefs were given a major boost after they applied for and secured a £283,000 grant from the Department of Health to put towards the essential building work.
That leaves a shortfall of £200,000... and that is where Gazette readers come in.
We want generous Fylde folk to become HOSPICE HEROES by doing something heroic for their local hospices.
That could be a sponsored walk, run, cake bake, non-uniform day at school or work – anything which can help us reach our target of £200,000.
Over the next few days we will be reporting on why the facilities at Trinity and Brian House desperately need investment as well as speak to patients, staff, supporters and volunteers who keep these very special places open.
The hospice’s facilities manager Simon Hellawell, who is overseeing the refurbishment, said: “This is the biggest ever project Trinity has done.
“We really need to modernise the buildings and make them fit for purpose for all patient groups. This is very exciting for us, and Trinity is going to look and feel very different – much more vibrant.
“Our care is exceptional, we want our environment to be exceptional as well, that’s what people deserve.”
What is needed:
AT TRINITY HOSPICE
The main element of the work involves creating four new single rooms with en-suite toilet and shower rooms out of two four-bed rooms.
It will mean more patients who want the privacy and dignity offered with a single room will be able to access one.
But while some patients prefer privacy others would feel more comfortable surround by others in larger rooms in their final days, so existing three-bedroom rooms are being refurbished.
Many windows are warped and draughty, the corridors are confusing so need to be redesigned to make the building easier to navigate for people with dementia.
The tired and dated aspects of the hospice include much of the furniture which has been in place since the building opened.
AT BRIAN HOUSE
Almost all of Brian House, which has been open for 17 years, is set to benefit from the proposed funding to make it brighter, safer and more appropriate for the changing needs of children who require hospice care.
The kitchen ceiling has leaked and the bedrooms are dangerous for children visiting with challenging behaviour.
Sister Lorraine Cundy, who is in charge of Brian House, said: “The rooms we have now do not look bad, but they are not fit for purpose.
“The rooms are not safe, children can get to the medicine cupboards, and we need more effective lighting. The LED lights were fantastic 17 years ago but now they are breaking and they’re expensive to have running.
“We need to get rid of wires and cables which are on show now we’ve got televisions in the rooms.”
Lorraine said things were constantly moving forward because of better technology and better health care meaning children with terminal conditions were living longer than they were expected to just a few years ago.
But with that comes added complications for a hospice built in 1996 in caring for them.
Lorraine added: “As a parent you don’t expect to lose a child. Their final days are the last thing you will want to do for them and it has to be perfect.
“These children have been born with a genetic disease which they have to live with all their life, and it’s tragic.
“Their parents are living on a knife edge facing the fact they could lose their children at any time.
“Here, it’s about having some meaning to the life you have left, and making memories to give a good quality of life. Brian House needs to be a warm, friendly environment, and for me it’s about creating the very best that we can for our children.”
Providing the cash is raised, another challenge for the hospice will be to carry out all the works while staying open.
Simon added: “Closing is not an option for us because it would directly impact the patients who need our services.
“It has taken a lot of careful planning to make sure we continue to offer high-level services on our inpatient and children’s unit and the work will be completed in phases.
“What we are doing would not have been possible for us to do 10 years ago, and certainly not 30 years ago when the hospice was built, and that is a lot to do with the changing requirements of health care.”