We are pleased to announce that Treetops Hospice Care is planning to develop a new In-Patient bedded Unit dedicated to caring for people at the end of life at our Risley site.

We are pleased to announce that Treetops has received planning consent for a new In-Patient Unit (IPU), dedicated to caring for people at the end of life.

The new 12-bed facility at Risley will be the first of its kind in South Derbyshire and South Nottinghamshire, making it possible for people across the two counties to access the highest quality of care, when they need it most.

We believe that everyone deserves a choice over where they receive their care and end of life support. We want to be there for people with any life limiting illness, so that it’s possible for them to die in their preferred surroundings with loved ones at their side. The new In-Patient Unit will give patients and their families exactly this kind of choice, making it easier to de-medicalise the experience of dying and provide compassionate palliative care, for as long as it’s needed.

What will be the impact on our current site and the services we provide?

It is not our intention to disrupt or cancel any of the care services that we currently deliver from the hospice. Treetops already offers hospice care in patients’ own homes through the Hospice at Home service and this commitment will not change. With the addition of an in-patient facility, we can provide continuity of care for those who wish to be cared for by Treetops until the end.

Whilst we understand that the building development will involve a small increase in traffic on the surrounding roads, we are sensitive to our local community and committed to ensuring any disruption is kept to a minimum, especially outside school hours.

Our grounds play an important part in providing surroundings that are peaceful and tranquil for those we hope will use our in-patient service, as it currently does for those who visit the hospice on a daily basis. The plans for the building have taken this into account and have very little environmental impact. We will also still welcome dog walkers on our grounds throughout the development and into the future.

Why do we need to build the new In-Patient Unit?

Our catchment areas in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are made up of a higher than average elderly population, with the number of people aged over 65 likely to increase by as much as 50%, by 2030. What’s more, these individuals are increasingly coping with at least two long term conditions such as heart and lung disease, diabetes, dementia or cancer – and in many cases will go on to need palliative care in a residential setting.

Currently, there are no independent hospice beds available in the South of the counties, leaving the Nightingale Macmillan Unit based at the Royal Derby Hospital and other small centres, responsible for more than 1,600 patients a year who require specialist support. And without carefully coordinated, community-based care these patients can find themselves passed between services, exacerbating pressures on existing health and social care providers and placing even greater stress on family members or loved ones.

All too often and in spite of excellent support from staff in acute hospital settings, the end of life care that follows can feel disjointed and disheartening. Patients and those close to them are caught up in the routine functionality of busy wards, where private moments are poorly achieved by the pull of a curtain. Given the choice, many of those facing their last stages of life would opt for the welcome alternative of a hospice environment that feels as close to home as possible.

Home or Hospice?

Whilst public surveys reveal a national preference for receiving end of life care at home, the reality is that many patients find this a less appealing or impractical outcome in the final stages of life. For different reasons, the idea of dying at home can be full of anxieties about access to treatment or the effect it might have upon loved ones. Even less attractive is the prospect of dying in a hospital or nursing home, where person-centred care can be harder to achieve.

The Lime Tree Campaign | helping to create better choices in end of life care

In the grounds of Treetops, we are lucky enough to have an array of woodland trees that create a home for wildlife and a sense of being sheltered by nature itself.

Perhaps the most striking feature is an ancient Lime tree; its towering stature and heart-shaped leaves forming a magnificent canopy against the changing skies. In mythology the Lime or Linden tree often appears as a symbol of love and justice which resonates deeply with our aims and ambitions for the new In-Patient Unit. In fact, half of the new bedrooms will have a beautiful view of our iconic tree, gently reminding all those who come here of the role of compassion and the importance of choice in end of life care.

What will it cost?

The new 12-bed facility will require a substantial investment of approximately £5 million to cover building works, a proportion of the costs of the additional nursing team and the revenue needed for the first two years of operation. This represents the most ambitious capital project that Treetops has ever undertaken, but the benefits speak for themselves. In reaching its target, the Campaign promises to fund an outstanding in-patient resource that will:

  • Optimise the quality of life for patients and families looking to make free and deeply personal choices about where they would like to die. Each of the bedrooms will be fitted-out with the highest quality clinical equipment, supported by a specialist health care team and designed to create a sense of warmth and tranquility.
  • Improve the delivery of multi-disciplinary palliative care skills and interventions, which promote dynamic, person-centred and innovative end of life care. Complementary therapies such as Art Therapy and Counselling and Emotional Support will be available in dedicated family rooms and practice spaces within the new facility.
  • Ensure a financially sustainable service that aligns with national frameworks for wide-ranging improvements in palliative and end of life care.

The quest for better choices in end of life care, is a collective endeavour. We can only achieve the right outcomes, if we face these challenges together and make meaningful decisions about how we respond to dying, death and bereavement. It’s our plan to be able to offer these benefits to our first guests in the Spring of 2020.

For more details about the Lime Tree Campaign, contact Adela Appleby, campaign manager, on 07967 754011 – campaign@treetopshospice.org.uk