05:00PM, Friday 27 December 2019
Chief executive of Thames Hospice, Debbie Raven, has described the progress of the charity’s new building at Bray Lake as ‘mind-blowing’.
The ambitious £22million project, which began in January last year, will replace the charity’s Pine Lodge Hospice in Hatch Lane, Windsor, which opened in 1987.
A new home for the charity was prompted by the results of a study Debbie commissioned when she joined Thames Hospice seven years ago.
As the only adult hospice providing inpatient and community palliative care services in Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire, the study looked at what the community needed from the charity - ‘not now, but in 20 years-time’.
The answer was more beds, expanded community services and developed education, all of which, and more besides, the state-of the art facility at Bray Lake will provide when it opens in September.
Combining functionality and thoughtful design the hospice will be a place where people can expect ‘quality of life until the end of life’.
Debbie said: “Because we were so lucky with the space we had, we were able to design the perfect hospice.”
She added: “It’s just been incredible to see it grow and to change constantly.
“When you see the plans, and then actually see it come to fruition it’s just mind-blowing.”
Debbie has taken on the guise of project manager for the build because anyone not directly involved with the hospice would ‘lose sight of those key decisions which make all the difference’.
“We are only doing this once, it has to be the best it can possible be, and that’s why wherever we can we have gone with what patients have told us they want,” she said.
People will enter the hospice, made up of seven buildings, through a circular glazed rotunda which is home to the main reception, and a café which opens out onto a terrace.
With dog walkers regularly frequenting the lake Debbie hopes they, and others, will not hesitate to stop by.
“The café’s open to the whole community,” she said. “And I can tell you, you won’t get better cake.”
To the right of the rotunda is a building dedicated to support services and to the left is the Paul Bevan Centre where outpatients will visit.
Here people can use the specialist equipment at the Louis Baylis Gym Physiotherapy Centre and Gym funded by a £115,000 grant from the Louis Baylis Trust, and unwind in the jacuzzi bathroom complete with twinkling lights and music.
There is also a day therapy room, five clinic rooms, and four counselling rooms with therapeutic views of the lake.
Above the Paul Bevan Centre is the community nurses base and the education suite where care givers, including care home and hospital staff, will be taught by Thames Hospice how ‘to care really well’.
The inpatient unit to the back of the rotunda is called the Pine Lodge Unit and is made up of the IPU (Inpatient Unit) Hub and three inpatient wings with a total of 28 ensuite rooms.
The hub includes an ensuite relatives room for family members to stay overnight, a family room with children’s area and kitchenette, and a sanctuary for reflective time and a place to hold weddings, blessings and parties.
With medical equipment concealed, the 28 rooms look as much as possible like bedrooms.
The sky lights and bifold doors in each will make patients ‘feel like they’re outside’ or if they prefer, to be outside - even in their beds.
Full of light, and the warmth of Thames Hospice staff, Debbie hopes to ‘dispel this myth about hospices being dark, scary places’.
“Sad things do happen in hospices, of course they do, but it can be a very happy place,” she said.
Even at this point in the build, the comfort the facility will undoubtedly provide to people at each stage of their journey with the charity is almost tangible.
In September the charity launched its Raise the Roof campaign to raise the final £3million needed to complete the build.
To donate £5 text RAISE to 70970 or to donate £10 text RAISE to 70191. Or to donate online visit www.raisetheroof2020.org.uk
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