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First look at New In Patient Unit

The opening of our new in patient unit has moved a step closer with the completion of the £1.2m building.

We received the official handover from construction company Walter Thompson of the new single storey, ten-bed suite for patients in South Durham and North Yorkshire.

The purpose-built unit, designed by Darlington-based Niven Architects, will offer a five star service ensuring that patients and their families receive the best possible hospice experience.

All ten private rooms, which open out into the hospice gardens or have their own private woodland balcony, are equipped with an en-suite wet room, energy-efficient under-floor heating, modern ventilation, television and controllable mood lighting.

Medical equipment, including a piped oxygen supply and built-in that fold out of sight, will allow patients with mobility issues the chance to transfer easily from bed to en-suite and a separate assisted bathroom, with adjustable bath seating and wall-mounted television, is available for patients who prefer a long therapeutic soak.

There are no limits on visiting hours and families are catered for with a new visitors’ room in which to take time out, or even stay overnight.

Chief Executive Officer Jane Bradshaw said: “I think our new unit is as near as it is possible to providing a home from home environment ensuring the best possible care for our patients.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished; it’s even better than I expected and proves that all money raised, which we so heavily rely on, has been extremely well spent.

“We haven’t wasted money but we haven’t cut any corners either. This hospice is owned by the people of Darlington and district and we take our role as guardians very seriously.”

The Hospice’s fundraising appeal is still ongoing to raise the money needed to fully furnish and equip each room and cover the £2.2m annual running costs of the hospice and its services.

Head of Nursing Alison Marshall added: “We are hoping to be ready to admit our first patients to the unit by the middle of June.

“We will have trained nurses and healthcare assistants 24/7 delivering all aspects of specialist palliative care to patients.

“These include end of life care, symptom management, both physical and psychological, as well as emotional and spiritual and carer crisis support for those families who are struggling to cope at home. We are also looking to deliver more complex medical treatments in the future including intravenous treatments and spinal anaesthesia.

“It is fantastic that we are now able to help more people and more patients with complex problems in an environment that is very different from a hospital ward.”