PROSPECT Hospice can support even more people at the end of their lives nowit has opened up a16th bed.

Space for the new room was taken from a former room set aside for relatives of patients being cared for at the hospice.

Hilary Sinclair, the in-patient unit nurse manager at the Hospice, said: “The opportunity arose for us to open up another bed and because of the demand for beds it seemed a good opportunity to do it.

“I am really, really pleased about it. It’s an opportunity to support more of the community in a very positive way.

“Some people want to spend their final days of their life at the hospice and the extra bed means that we can respect more of their wishes. We are there to support them and to make sure their last days are as positive and comfortable an experience as it can be.”

Hilary said that there has been an increasing demand for beds over the years as Prospect’s reputation for excellent end-of-life care has grown.

She said: “I think the demand is just on the increase for a number of reasons. More and more people are living longer and people in the community are being cared for in a much more complete way than they have been in the past.

“Some people choose to come to the hospice because it just gives them and their carer a rest, and it means they are in a safe place where they can be made comfortable.”

Like all the teams at the hospice, the in-patient unit works closely with Prospect’s other services to ensure that the best care is given to every patient and their families.

Hilary said: “We don’t just offer in-patient support – we also support people in the community and we work very closely with other services to ensure that the support they need is where people want it to be at the end of their life.

“And it’s not just about the nursing team, it’s about the whole ethos that we have got working with the other teams, and I think that’s quite important.”

Relatives will still be able to stay with their relatives in purpose-built lodges.

Hilary said: “We had confirmation from the Department of Health to build two family lodges where relatives can stay while their loved one is in the hospice so they can still be close to them.”

She said the team could not do its work and the unit would not be opening its new bed were it not for the efforts and generosity of donations.

She said: “The money people raise goes to fund all the different services at Prospect, including the IPU, and it can really make a difference and enables us to answer more patients’ wishes.”