Summer Family Room Appeal
At a difficult time I am sure you will agree having your loved ones close by can make a huge difference. Here at St Oswald’s our patients and families have told us that to improve their time with us, a family room is much needed. A place where families can be together in an intimate home from home environment, making memories and sharing special moments.
Over recent days we have been extremely fortunate as a very kind supporter, much like you, has pledged to pay for the building works to extend and improve an existing room on our Adult Inpatient Unit. This much needed Family Room will be used by hundreds of families in the future, giving them space to be together in a warm and welcoming environment, as well as providing safe and private place to take some time out from their loved one’s bedside. With support from you and other generous people like you, we would like to raise the extra money needed to decorate and furnish the new room, to ensure its well-equipped and comfortable for those using it.
Could you help us to furnish this brand new, dedicated Family Room and give the gift of quality time to our patients and families?
As well as offering specialist medical care to patients with a range of complex conditions, we also provide support to their loved ones. This could be a partner, parent, child, grandchild or friends. Our team strive to ensure all families are given the chance to spend quality time with their special person.
Although our patient bedrooms are comfortable and well equipped, we recognise that family time shouldn’t just be confined to one room where a patient is receiving treatment. Space on our unit is tight, and although we have beautiful gardens outdoors for patients to enjoy, we don’t have much indoor space for families to be together or to take some much needed time out.
At St Oswald’s we know how vital it is to a patient’s wellbeing to spend time with those they love. Simple pleasures such as sitting at a table and enjoying a meal with your partner, playing a board game with your children or just having a change of scenery and some quiet time are all things we take for granted, but something our patients tell us they really value.
Please can you help us create a safe and supportive environment for loved ones to be together by supporting our Family Room Appeal this Summer?
Our plans include extending an existing room on our unit, adding patio doors to let in the light, with doors opening onto a small patio area to ensure ease of access for wheelchair users. This dedicated family space will give patients and their loved ones somewhere to spend time together away from the bedroom and their day to day routine. It will be used by our Social Workers and Bereavement Support Team as a place to have difficult conversations in relaxed surroundings and for children and teenagers to take some time away from their family member’s bedside.
It will cost £97,000 to extend the existing room on our Inpatient Unit and we are delighted that this cost will be covered by a very generous donation from a funder. We are now appealing to you, our supporters, to help us furnish and decorate the room, making it cosy, welcoming and filled with home comforts for the families staying with us. Families just like the Browns from Alnwick.
Paul Brown, 44, had a brain tumour and first came to
St Oswald’s in June 2016. He died on the Adult Inpatient Unit after five months of care, in November 2016.
Paul’s wife, Tricia, and two children, Lauren (now 12) and Harry (now 15) were regular visitors to the Hospice during this time, often staying overnight.
Tricia explains how a Family Room would have benefitted her and her children during Paul’s stay:
Paul was at the Hospice over the school summer holidays so we spent a lot of time there as a family. The support and care we all received was unbelievable – we felt like part of a huge family. Being there was almost like an arm coming over us, we felt safe.
Paul would have liked to have been at home in his last weeks but it wasn’t possible due to the progression of his symptoms. But St Oswald’s allowed us to bring our home to the Hospice. Even our dog Bobby was a regular visitor, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that anywhere else.
The children wanted to be with their dad as much as possible and the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating, even making a room into a bedroom for us. Harry and Lauren slept there for Paul’s last two weeks. The room was just next door to Paul so it meant that we could stay together as a family in those final weeks.
Our children would spend a lot of time on their iPad’s and computers during our time here, as there wasn’t much for them to do. I always said that it would have been good if there was a separate room on the ward for children to spend some time away from the bedroom. For Lauren in particular, she might have been able to talk to other children in private who were going through the same situation and been able to strike up a friendship through play.
For me, it would have been one less thing to think about if the children were occupied, so I could spend some time just Paul and I.
Paul’s son, Harry, now 15 added:
My dad was funny and caring. He liked spending time outdoors and I have lots of memories of going on walks together around Alnwick. He was all about his family and spending time together. I’m glad that was something we were able to continue when dad came to the Hospice.
When I first came to St Oswald’s I thought it would be just like a hospital but it was more like a home. It was the little things like having carpets, instead of tiled floors which made me feel more relaxed. We even made my dad’s room as much like home as we could, because he would have liked to have been at home. We put up pictures and drawings in his room and even decorated it with lights.
It would have been great to have had a room to go to just to chill out, play a computer game, have something to eat and just think. We have a big family so when we would all play games, we would play them in the Hospice’s reception, which felt a bit strange. It would have been good to have something like a living room at home.
As well as somewhere to spend quality family time, the room could also offer a safe place to talk to both adults and children, in private. Our Family Support Team spends a lot of time with the families of patients in our care, and at present, we don’t have a room for families to use when things are difficult, or when young people need some time out.
Tricia Wilson is one of our Social Workers at St Oswald’s. She tells us how the Family Room will vital on our Inpatient Ward:
When families have a loved one staying on our Inpatient Unit they often feel overwhelmed and frightened. At St Oswald’s we pride ourselves in supporting not just the patient, but their whole family too, so it’s our job to make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible.
For children and young people coming to visit it isn’t always appropriate for them to be in a patient’s bedroom, and it can understandably be boring for them. During these times young people and families are often sat in waiting areas in our corridors. Sometimes we have private conversations with family members in our communal corridors, because there is no other space. It is often unsettling to have these sorts of conversations in the corridor, and a new room would provide a confidential space to talk to families.
Your gift today will help our families make precious moments and special memories in a home from home environment
Thank you for considering making a donation towards our Family Room Appeal. A donation today would be a gift directly from you to families, just like the Brown’s, and help turn an empty shell into a warm and homely retreat for families at a difficult time.
If you would like to support our campaign and make a donation this Summer, you can call us on 0191 246 9123 to donate over the phone or by completing our online form here. Please also rest assured that if we raise funds over and above the cost of the refurbishment, this money will be put towards Hospice running costs, which currently amount to over £11 million per year.