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Oldham hospice's new In-Patient Unit opens its doors

After a five-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Kershaw's Hospice has officially opened its new state-of-the-art In-Patient Unit. 

The Royton-based hospice say the new £3.5 million unit will offer patients "a 21st century home from home" with modern facilities. 

Despite unprecedented Covid delays and a financial shortfall, the new unit - which has the capacity to care for 12 patients - opened its doors to the first patient on 15 February. 

The hospice says the new facility will enable staff to provide "compassionate, dignified care for patients with life-limiting illnesses in a modern environment".

The unit includes eight single, and two twin rooms - all of which have 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 of rooms having glass double doors overlooking the grounds, which will open up to stunning views once the newly-landscaped gardens are complete.

At the heart of the facility is the new in-patient family lounge, whose furnishings have been funded as a result of the hospice's latest appeal ‘Furnish with Love’. Featuring sofas, dining facilities and a bespoke kitchen, the in-patient family 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, has been at the hospice for over six years, originally overseeing all clinical areas as Director of Clinical Services, and has seen the transformation from the old to the new In-Patient Unit.

Joanne commented: “We couldn’t be happier with our new facility, it has definitely been worth the wait, the In-Patient Unit is bright, with lots of natural light and is a huge step forward from our old ward.”

Other features of the new In-Patient Unit 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 hydro bathtubs have been installed to create "a peaceful atmosphere for patients" so that they can have a hot soak in bubbles, with lights and their favourite music to promote relaxation. The hospice's 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 whilst they are at Dr Kershaw’s.

To accommodate the completion of the new facility, Dr Kershaw’s took its clinical provision fully into the community with its Hospice at Home service back in October. Four months later, the team - who cared for 556 patients in 2020 both in the Hospice and the community - are now back on the ward providing specialised care and support for patients and their families, giving patients the choice of being cared for at home or on the hospice's new In-Patient Unit.

Adele Doherty, Director of Clinical Services, at the new nurses station at the hub of the facility. 

Dr Matthias Hohmann, the hospice's Medical Director, works with the nurses on the In-Patient Unit to provide individualised care for each patient who is admitted.

Dr Hohmann said: “The new facility is incredible, of course 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.

"Everything we need is now compact in each patient room, such as piped oxygen, which is readily accessible, instead of using oxygen concentrators for patients which previously generated a lot of heat and noise. 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 Dr Kershaw’s In-Patient 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. The room was spacious and very modern, two members of my family were allowed to visit me and were made to feel at home also. The care I received whilst at the Hospice was second to none, I have never known care like this, nothing is too much trouble for the staff.”

With internal works complete, 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 at the hospice will have seating areas and walkways for patients and their families to spend time in.

Chief Executive Joanne Sloan 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 of Oldham who have all made our new build possible.

"Due to Covid, we won’t yet be able to hold the official launch we had hoped to, but look forward to welcoming you all back to the Hospice when we are able to, to share our fantastic new build and to 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 newly created In-Patient Unit virtual tour. To watch the virtual tour, you can visit their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linked In channels or the hospice’s website, www.drkh.org.uk

Despite being able to complete their new build, Dr Kershaw’s say its ongoing funds to support patient care have been "massively impacted by the pandemic" with events cancellations and a reduction in fundraising activities.

Anyone who wants to make a donation or to take part in fundraising can call the hospice’s Fundraising Team on 0161 624 9984 or visit www.drkh.org.uk

Main image:

One of the patient's bedrooms in the new in-patient unit.

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