Staff, patients and supporters of St Richard’s Hospice are celebrating after plans for a £5.3m extension and redevelopment were approved by Worcester City Council.
The Worcestershire charity had submitted the expansion plans for the hospice site at Wildwood Drive in the city to help them meet the ever-increasing need for hospice care in the county now and in the future.
The move to expand follows a strategic study to determine the future of St Richard’s Hospice care for the next ten years.
Chief Executive June Patel explained, “Currently areas of our hospice building in Worcester are bursting at the seams and we are struggling to respond to the ever-increasing number of patients. In order to better support our current patients and reach the unmet need of thousands of local people in the future, we will have to expand and adapt our current space and services.
“We are already at full capacity and the demand is set to rise sharply with our aging population and people living longer with multiple illnesses such as heart failure, Parkinson’s, and motor neurone disease as well as cancer.
“Our vision is for a bigger hospice where we will be able to support people from the point they are diagnosed, improving their quality of life and offering support to their loved ones. The bigger hospice, widespread redevelopment of the current building and a focus on more flexible, seven day a week care and support will mean we can reach more people in ways they want, helping them to learn new skills and strategies to manage their illness and increase independence as well as helping them to come to terms with the impact on their lives.”
The redeveloped and extended building will include:
A re-configured reception area; larger rooms suitable for exercise based groups eg adapted Tai Chi, yoga; specialist exercise studio; Occupational Therapy kitchen; more rooms for counselling; complementary therapy; music, horticultural and art therapy plus a spacious social and eating area.
Mrs Patel explained, “Bigger, multi-purpose spaces will allow us to offer a wider choice of activities to help people manage their illness where appropriate, such as sessions to cope with breathlessness and fatigue; exercise-based groups and creative and music therapies which can increase confidence and independence; bring relief from symptoms; reduce stress, anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep.
All the new and expanded services will run alongside St Richard’s current wide range of patient and family care including support in people’s own homes and 17 in-patient beds.
Mrs Patel added, “St Richard’s is the only organisation in South Worcestershire providing specialist end of life care. There is an increasing demand for our support to adults with a life-limiting illness and their families and without a bigger hospice many more people will face their illness alone, without the significant benefits that being part of the St Richard’s ‘family’ can bring.”
The planning go-ahead and the golden windfall of an extremely generous and unexpected £2m gift in a Will from a Worcestershire supporter, brings the expansion and redevelopment a step nearer to becoming a reality.
The legacy, along with carefully saved hospice reserve funds and pledges from Trusts and grant making foundations, has given St Richard’s a great start in their bid to build and expand to care for more people. The charity does not anticipate receiving any government funding for the project and plans to launch a public appeal for the remaining funds next year. The work will be phased dependant on funding and is hoped to be completed by 2020.
St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team currently supports more than 3,000 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.
St Richard’s anticipates the bigger hospice will enable them to care and support an increase of up to an extra 1,000 individuals per year by 2021/22.
The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.
St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations for three quarters of its income with the remainder from the NHS.