MARIE Curie Cancer Care officially re-opened the doors of its hospice in Penarth this week - following a £1.7m refurbishment programme to improve and modernise patient and family facilities.
The completion of the project was formally marked with a visit from Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths AM, on Monday (November 5).
Patients say the facility now has more of a “hotel feel”, than that of a hospice.
The improvements have created additional single occupancy rooms as well as new en-suite facilities for all the multi-bed wards. Friends and family areas such as the visitors’ room have also been refurbished, to ensure there is space and privacy to talk to clinical staff or spend time with loved ones.
A new cafe bistro has also been created for this purpose, and the existing reception area has been transformed into a modern and welcoming open-plan space.
As part of the changes, the hospice - formerly known as Marie Curie Hospice, Penarth - has been re-named Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale, to “better reflect the area the hospice serves”.
Supporting around 1,200 patients a year, the hospice provides care for people from across the Vale, Cardiff, Newport and Caerphilly, as well as Penarth.
Hospice manager Karen Stephens said the extensive refurbishment would allow the hospice to 'best meet the needs of patients and their families'.
“We are hugely pleased to welcome our patients back to the hospice’s new and improved facilities,” she said.
“Built 25 years ago, the hospice was in real need of modernisation. These improvements will directly benefit the needs of our patients and provide more space for families to spend time together.
“We passionately believe that terminally ill people should be able to access the care and support they need at the end of their life in an environment which ensures privacy, dignity and comfort.
“In taking this opportunity to re-name the hospice, we hope that people will better understand the communities we serve. We welcome referrals via GPs, district nurses or discharge nurses.”
Michael Davies, 28, a police officer from St Mellons who is a patient at the hospice, said the environment is very different from that of a hospital.
“The staff are such a great support and the high ratio of staff to patients means the nurses are able respond quickly and efficiently to our needs,” he said.
“The complementary therapies offered here have really helped me manage my pain and think about my illness differently, and the cooked breakfast each morning always gives me a reason to get up!
“The sea views from my room are fantastic - I feel like I have the best room in the house! And my own en-suite bathroom allows me the privacy I would not get elsewhere.
He added: "Marie Curie Cancer Care has been a fantastic support to not only me but also to my family and friends.”
Eighty-four year-old Joyce Rodd was a patient at the facility before the refurbishment - she has now returned and said it has changed dramatically.
“The refurbishment is beautiful, the view spectacular, and the care first class - what more could we ask for,” she said.
“It’s got a much lighter, more modern feel than before, and it makes all the difference in the world. They have done a marvellous job.”
Fellow patient Sylvia Symmonds, 73, added: “It’s so comfortable, I couldn’t be happier here. It’s like staying in a hotel.”
Heledd Saunders, a nurse at the hospice said: “The refurbishment has made such a positive difference to our day to day work and to the happiness of the patients.”
Lesley Griffiths AM met patients and staff as she officially reopened the hospice on Monday.
“The hospice provides such important specialist care,” she said.
“It is a very special facility, which I know will support a great many people.
"I recently launched a consultation on delivering excellent end of life care, and I hope to hear from clinicians, managers, patients and families as part of the consultation process.”
* The Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale, provides expert care and the best possible quality of life for people with terminal cancer and other illnesses, offering a full range of services to patients and their families.
* People can stay at the hospice or visit regularly for pain relief, physiotherapy, complementary therapies, bereavement support and more.
* Marie Curie also provides community based services to help people return to their homes and be looked after there.
* For more information visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/penarth or call 0800 716 146.
THE Marie Curie Hospice in Penarth is holding a Christmas Fayre on Saturday (November 10) from 10.30am.
Christmas cards and Marie Curie merchandise will be on sale from 10.30am, and there will be a guess the weight of the cake competition and raffle.
All are welcome to go along - so treat yourself to some festive goodies and take a look at the newly refurbished hospice at the same time!