WORK BEGINS ON GROUND-BREAKING NI HOSPICE

udith Hill CEO NI Hospice with Johnny McMillen Patterson from Carrickfergus who's father was cared for by the Hospice as construction works begins on the new purpose built adult hospice at Somerton Road in North Belfast.

Dame Judith Hill CEO NI Hospice with Johnny McMillen Patterson from Carrickfergus whose father was cared for by the Hospice as construction works begins on the new purpose built adult hospice at Somerton Road in North Belfast.

FOLLOWING years of planning, detailed research and wide consultation, Northern Ireland Hospice is embarking on the next stage of its journey – to build a new Hospice that meets the end of life care needs of the next generation.

This week, construction work will begin on the purpose built adult hospice at Somerton Road, North Belfast. The state-of-the-art new hospice has been designed to care for people with complex care needs and the growing numbers of people in need of end of life care, due to our ageing population.

The new adult hospice will provide 18 modern single en-suite rooms and a Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy facility. Peaceful gardens; a children and relatives area; a sanctuary and Chaplain’s room and space where patients and families can relax together during this important time will also be incorporated in the new build. A bright and spacious Day Hospice providing therapies, activities and access to an outpatient clinic and an Education and Research centre will be provided in a separate wing to support NI Hospice in advancing the quality of hospice care provided throughout Northern Ireland in the future.

Breaking new ground, the new-look Somerton Hospice will also be the first Dementia friendly hospice in the UK and Ireland, addressing the important challenge of reaching out beyond cancer and providing end of life care for people with non-malignant diseases such as heart disease, severe respiratory and neurological illnesses.

Commenting at the announcement, Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, Professor Dame Judith Hill said: “Today we mark an important milestone in the journey to revolutionise hospice care in Northern Ireland as we take our first steps towards realising the dream of a purpose-built adult hospice at Somerton Road.

“This is so much more than a building; the new Northern Ireland Hospice will provide the foundations from which we will build a legacy of hospice care for generations to come.

“We are making preparations for a future that includes caring for wider disease groups beyond cancer to ensure that patients with non-malignant diseases such as respiratory, dementia and neurological conditions receive the specialist care they deserve at the end of their life. This new building, and the research and education that will be conducted here will help us to shape the future of hospice care for the changing needs of our population.”

The total cost of the new hospice is £13m; £2.7m of this will come from Hospice resources leaving a fundraising goal of £10.3m. Of this, £7.7m has already been raised thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the many people, government and philanthropic sources but a further £2.6million must be raised to complete the rebuild. Every gift towards the new hospice will make a difference, whether buying a brick, sponsoring a room or getting sponsored to take part in an event.

Launching the new build, Health Minister, Edwin Poots said: “I am delighted to be here today to launch this partnership project to support those in need of palliative and end of life care. In recognition of the vital support the NI Hospice gives to those in need of palliative and end of life care, in partnership with the Health and Social Care Trusts, I secured capital funding of £2.7m to assist the NI Hospice to proceed with the replacement of this much needed new Adult Hospice facility.

“We all know someone in need of these vital services and the extraordinary care and commitment provided by all those working in this area should be commended; from those involved in funding and delivering services for NI Hospice through to the many selfless volunteers that give freely of their time. I would also like to commend the hospice on their continuing fundraising activities through the innovative ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign.”

Professor Dame Judith Hill added: “We are grateful to the many and varied supporters that have backed our rebuild campaign to date; invaluable support from individuals, charitable trusts, community groups, corporates and the government has helped us reach this important stage in our hospice journey.

“Our vision to completely rebuild a hospice that is equipped to deliver a first class service, to patients, families and the people of Northern Ireland today becomes a reality.”

An artist's impression of the new-look NI Hospice in north Belfast

An artist’s impression of the new-look NI Hospice in north Belfast

Construction work at the building, designed by local architects, Consarc Design Group will begin this week, with building contractor H&J Martin Ltd now on site. Both companies were selected not only for their professional expertise but also for their sound understanding of the project brief and strong empathy with the NIH ethos of care. Clinical staff, volunteers and experts in dementia care have also been closely consulted on the design.

Somerton House (a former preparatory school) and the front façade of 21 – 23 Alexander Gardens will be retained as part of the wider redevelopment of the site, although both will have to be internally rebuilt. The new hospice will also have basement car parking as well as the facilities and latest technologies that will enable NI Hospice to support those that will need hospice care in the next 20 years. For further information, visit www.nihospice.org

The main features of the new adult Hospice include:

o 18 single en-suite rooms with modern facilities, providing comfort and private space for families and loved ones.

o A bright and spacious Day Hospice where patients can enjoy companionship, therapies, activities and access to the outpatient clinic.

o A Research & Education wing, which will advance the quality of care provided in the future.

o A children and relatives area for those visiting their loved ones.

o A Sanctuary and Chaplain’s room for those seeking spiritual support.

o Peaceful gardens for use by patients and relatives.

o A Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy facility to improve the wellbeing of patients.

o Technology enabling Hospice to reach out to patients and professionals in the community.

o The new Hospice will be the first Dementia friendly Hospice in the UK and Ireland.

A timeframe of 18 months has been set and it is expected that the new adult hospice will be open and operational in late 2015.

In the interim, the adult Hospice is currently operating from temporary accommodation in Whiteabbey Hospital (17 beds).

Local architects Consarc Design Group designed the new building and the building contractor is H&J Martin Ltd. Both companies were selected not only for their professional expertise but their demonstration of sound understanding of the project brief and strong empathy with the NIH ethos of care. Clinical staff, volunteers and experts in dementia care have also been closely consulted on the design.

The adult hospice project will cost £13million of which £11.2million are capital building costs. Of this, £2.7 million will come from NI Hospice’s own resources, leaving a fundraising goal of £10.3 million. Of this figure, £7.7 million has already been raised from the public, government and philanthropic sources; £2.6million must still be raised.

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