The most ambitious refurbishment project at the borough’s hospice in two decades to make the building more dementia friendly has begun.
Work is under way at Wigan and Leigh Hospice’s Hindley headquarters to transform the in-patient unit.
Four bedrooms and two bathrooms are being modernised in the first phase of work to make the building easier for people with the devastating memory-loss condition to negotiate.
The 16-bed unit at the charity’s Kildare Street base will be completely renovated over eight months of work, with corridors and gardens colour coded and artwork used as landmarks to help dementia sufferers get around.
The hospice is also asking for residents’ help to fund the work through its Counting on Care appeal, which is backed by the Wigan Observer.
Dr Alan Baron, chief executive of the hospice, said: “The hospice moved to our current site in Hindley almost 20 years ago and, while our care remains of the same high standard, the in-patient unit is very much in need of modernisation.
The hospice moved to our current site almost 20 years ago and the in-patient unit is very much in need of modernisationDr Alan Baron
“This is the first major work to take place on the in-patient unit in all that time and we have been working hard on the concept and design over the last few years in order to make sure we get it absolutely right with the minimum disruption to patients, visitors and staff.
“Our final plan includes not only significant cosmetic changes but improvements which will make the in-patient unit more comfortable and therapeutic for all of our patients and visitors for many years to come.”
Work has begun on the bedrooms following the completion of refurbishment at the front of the building which created a brighter, fresher reception area, a new cafe and an extra private patient entrance.
Every bedroom will be given new heating, lighting, decor and furnishings and there will be clearer colour schemes and new signs placed throughout the unit.
Artwork showing scenes from the borough will adorn the walls, a bedroom will be turned into a specialist bariatric facility, the bathrooms will be upgraded and the public seating areas given new furnishings.
The hospice is also creating an extension to relocate four bedrooms and install a nurses’ reception area and office as well as an equipment store and clinic room.
There will also be a second overnight room allowing more families to remain with their loved ones receiving palliative care.
The work is being done in phases so the in-patient unit, which cares for more than 300 people each year, can cater for the usual number of patients throughout the work.
Rebekah Ashley, in-patient unit manager, said: “The staff are really excited and looking forward to seeing the work completed. The in-patient unit doesn’t look bad at the moment but it’s beginning to look outdated and tired.
“The changes will make it brighter and the sign-posting and colour-coding of bedroom bays will make it much easier for patients and visitors to get around. It’s quite easy to get lost around the in-patient unit and patients can find it difficult to identify their own room as each bay of bedrooms looks exactly the same at present.
“The improved unit will be a relaxing and therapeutic environment conducive to the individual needs of our patients and those important to them.
“Our patients deserve dignity, comfort and care and the changes we are making will ensure they continue to receive safe and supportive care for years to come.”
While the charity has secured some grant funding it has also aimed to raise £50,000 through the Counting on Care appeal and is once again asking for public support to ensure the modernisation project gets over the finishing line.
Donations can be made by texting HSPC02 plus the amountbeing given to 70070, ringing the fund-raising team on 01942 525566 or sending a cheque to the Counting on Care appeal.
For more information, visit www.wlh.org.uk