Background Our existing hospice was over 30 years old and no longer fit for purpose, refurbishment costs were estimated at £3.4 million and we would have had to close for a year.
Aims To build a new hospice which incorporated the good design we had seen in other new hospices but also to use the knowledge of our own staff to design a hospice which would really work for our patients and their families.
Method Communication, communication, communication! During the tendering process to select the architect and the builders, we ensured that we chose professionals who would become partners and who would embrace a collaborative approach. We also wanted our staff, volunteers, patients and their families to participate in the design process. We visited many other hospices, undertook desk research on good hospice design and we used different activities to ensure that the building worked for everyone.
Results Our 23-bedded hospice was finished two weeks early, and on budget. We have won the local award for Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Awards for best new community building and the best overall new building in the East of England. We now go through to the finals of the RICS Awards. Our patients, their families and staff love the building and the building works just the way we hoped.
Conclusion In 2013, after having commissioned a feasibility study, we decided to build a new hospice. We moved our patients in, in November 2016. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response from everyone. It has been a smooth, collaborative process. Many hospices teams have visited for support and advice. All the professionals involved have advised us that this has been a ‘model’ project for them and would like to share our experience further.
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