A DOCTOR at St Luke’s Hospice has backed The Star’s campaign to raise £100,000 to help rebuild the Sheffield’s charity’s inpatient unit.
Dr Andy Kitlowski, who has treated terminally-ill patients at the Whirlow facility for 12 years, knows just how important the new 20-bed unit will be.
He said: “Our current facilities are old fashioned and outdated and they don’t conform to expectations of what modern health care should be.
“When the hospice first opened 41 years ago, the facilities were fine but we have moved on and people’s expectations have changed a great deal in four decades.”
The new facilities, which are currently under construction at the hospice site in Little Common Lane, will include 14 single patient rooms and two triple-bed rooms, all with ensuite facilities.
The hospice needs £5.5m to make the improvements and The Star has pledged to raise £100,000 to build one of the new rooms.
Already Star readers have donated £8,143 – but there is a long way to go.
Dr Kitlowski, who is also a GP in Walkley, said: “There will be benefits for us working in a more comfortable and attractive environment but most of all we will see an improvement in the quality of life for our patients.
“It will be a far less intimidating environment and it will be much more relaxed, which will make our jobs easier. Many people coming into a hospice for the first time are very anxious and that will be greatly reduced by the atmosphere on the new unit.
“The greater number of single rooms will undoubtedly increase privacy – which is extremely important at this difficult time – and will also improve connections between patients and their families and the medical team.
“People will be less conscious of being overheard and that means they will be able to have more open and honest conversations with their families, doctors and nurses.”
Dr Kitlowski urged Sheffield residents to back the appeal.
“I know it’s a big ask but this is an important project for St Luke’s and for the people of Sheffield,” he said. “When people have a limited lifespan, every day is precious.
“The benefits to that person of improving the facilities and, as a result, their care is enormous.
“The care of patients from a doctor’s point of view is not just about dealing with the physical, it’s also about spiritual and social issues and the better the environment, the better we can help.
“And for families, I think the memories that people will be left with will be much more positive.”