St Teresa’s Hospice tallHUNDREDS of guests were given a first glimpse yesterday of a pioneering hospice’s new in-patient unit.

St Teresa’s’ Hospice, Darlington, opened the doors of the £1.2m building designed to offer a five-star service for patients and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

As the hospice celebrates 30 years of care, up to 200 people, including mayor and mayoress of Darlington Brian and Doris Jones, enjoyed a garden party in front of the new single storey, ten-bed suite.

Designed by Darlington-based Niven Architects and built by Walter Thompson, the unit will offer peerless care for people living with life-threatening illnesses and support for their families.

All ten private rooms, which open out into the hospice gardens or have their own private woodland balcony, are equipped with an en-suite wet room, energy-efficient under-floor heating, modern ventilation, television and controllable mood lighting.

Medical equipment, including a piped oxygen supply and built-in hoists that fold out of sight, will allow patients with mobility issues the chance to transfer easily from bed to en-suite and a separate assisted bathroom, with adjustable bath seating and wall-mounted television, is available for patients who prefer a long therapeutic soak.

There are no limits on visiting hours and families are catered for with a new visitors’ room in which to take time out, or even stay overnight.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive officer Jane Bradshaw told guests: “I think our new unit is as near as possible a home from home environment ensuring the best possible care for our patients.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished and all the money raised so far has been extremely well spent. This hospice is owned by the people of Darlington and district and we take our role as guardians very seriously.”

The hospice’s fundraising appeal is still working tirelessly to raise the money needed to fully furnish and equip each room and cover the £2.2m annual running costs of the hospice and its services.

Chairman of St Teresa’s Hospice board of trustees Dr Harry Byrne added: “We will have trained nurses and healthcare assistants available 24/7 delivering all aspects of specialist palliative care to patients.

“These include symptom management, both physical and psychological, as well as emotional, spiritual and carer crisis support. We are also looking to deliver more complex medical treatments in the future including intravenous treatments and spinal anesthesia.

“It is fantastic that we are now able to help more patients with complex problems in an environment that is much less clinical and more homely.”