WORK has been completed on a care and support centre for cancer patients being treated at Wirral Hospice St John's.
Today saw the official handover from architect John Nozedar and Mellwood Construction's site manager, Danny Ambrose, to hospice operations director, Paul Rushbrook and facilities manager, Mark Jones.
The new space will 'join-up' the care and support provided for patients. It will also provide a health care hub for use by community groups across Wirral.
Funding for £1m development came from a Department of Health grant and donations from the public through the hospice's Families Matter Appeal, which is aiming to raise £250,000 for the centre.
Julie Gorry, the hospice's chief executive, told the Globe: "The additional space will enable us to implement even more effectively the vision of Integrated Shared Care.
"This aims to bring all the health and social care professionals together, allowing them to work even more effectively, and offering patients, their carers and families wraparound care, without needing to increase the number of beds we have at the Hospice. We like to think of this new way of working as a 'Hospice without walls'.
"In essence, more patients will be helped to live as comfortably as possible with their illness, and we believe that those caring for them will also benefit, feeling recognised and supported during what can be an extremely difficult time."
Elaine Pugh, outpatients services manager, said: "The new building is going to be a fantastic resource. It will give us the ability to help all those affected by serious conditions and also support the other professionals who are responsible for providing care for them.
"We can now welcome other professionals, who would normally be based elsewhere, sharing our skills in palliative care with them and theirs with us.
"We can share the space and plan treatment together to provide truly wraparound care."
The development will also enhance the support it gives to families and young adults. One of the rooms will be child friendly, for conversations with children whose lives have been affected by cancer.
To complement this aspect of their work, the Hospice will visit Wirral primary schools with mascot, John Bear.
Hayley Gough, events manager who is co-ordinating the project, said: "This is to explain the work of the Hospice in a way that is appropriate to a young audience.
"It will help children to understand that it is ok to feel sad at times, that it is good to talk about their feelings and to help them know where to turn if they want support."
Teresa Nightingale, the hospice's head of fundraising, said: "We need your support for the Families Matter Appeal to help pay for equipment and furnishings for the building."
For more on how to help the hospice, contact Teresa Nightingale, Head of Fundraising on 0151 343 0778 or visit www.wirralhospice.org
To donate to the Families Matter Appeal, visit www.wirralhospice.org/hospice_families_matter.html