Royal Approval for Newcastle Architects’ Highland Hospice

Royal Approval for Newcastle Architects’ Highland Hospice

A £7.5m refurbishment of Inverness’ Highland Hospice, designed by the award-winning Newcastle architectural practice, JDDK Architects, was officially opened by HRH The Earl of Inverness (Prince Andrew) on Tuesday 13 December.

The project had begun in 2011 with an initial commission for JDDK to undertake a Feasibility Study to explore options to upgrade the hospice’s 25 year old facilities, particularly the Inpatient Unit, in light of the development of hospice services, increasing regulatory recommendations and the aspirations of the Highland Hospice for the creation of the very best care environment.

JDDK Associate Director, Nicky Hodgson, explained, “The hospice has the most superb riverside location and a key factor was the desire to stay here taking advantage of those parts of the hospice which were working well and the familiar public face of the hospice centred on Ness House. The chosen option was therefore to demolish the existing small Inpatient Unit which had only four single rooms and two three-bedded rooms, all of which were smaller than current guidelines recommend, whilst spaces for family and staff were also restricted and temporarily move whilst the new unit was constructed.

Following a three year fund-raising campaign which gathered £4.5million towards the construction of the facility, raised by more than 4,000 donors, the Inpatient Unit was temporarily relocated to Invergordon Hospital with other services operating from an adjacent Business Park allowing demolition of the existing unit and construction and construction of the new facility to begin in June 2015.

Nicky Hodgson continued, “With nine single en-suite rooms and one three-bedded room, the new Unit offers greater choice and vastly improved privacy and dignity for patients. All the single rooms are now large enough for a family member to stay overnight with their loved one if desired, and the facility provides additional much needed family accommodation enabling friends and relations to relax during the day and stay overnight if they wish.”

“Work spaces for clinical staff have also been greatly improved, meeting modern healthcare specifications. The facility also provides dedicated bereavement support rooms for face-to-face, group and telephone counseling for the first time since the service was launched in 1994, as well as a unique Sanctuary for patients, relatives, staff and volunteers to take respite from the challenges they face.”

An enlarged art and craft room offers improved Occupational Therapy opportunities, and there is also a bigger suite for physiotherapy.  Additionally, there is the space and technological infrastructure needed to support the growth of a Virtual Hospice allowing greater access to Hospice services in more remote and rural communities of the Highlands.

Hospice Chairman, Mr Norman MacDonald added, “With the support of the Highland public we have achieved our £4.5million fundraising target and delivered a building offering a welcoming and calming environment with all the features a modern care facility needs. We are proud of what we have been able to provide for the people of the Highlands and I am delighted that the Earl of Inverness was also impressed.”

The provision of palliative care facilities is a specialty of the practice with recent projects including St Oswald’s in Newcastle, Thorpe Hall in Peterborough, St Columba’s in Edinburgh, St Gemma’s in Leeds, Marie Curie hospices in Glasgow and Solihull, and St Patrick’s University Hospital in Cork.

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