Cancer patient Brian Smith has a great example of one of the major differences a new home would make for St Ann’s Hospice.
He could not avoid overhearing a difficult bedside conversation between a fellow inpatient and his wife at the current Heald Green site.
Brian, from Offerton, said: “I’m in a ward with four people and we’re separated by curtains. It means I can’t see what’s happening but I can hear it and when some guy is talking to his wife about going home to die, I’m there and don’t really want to be invading his privacy.
“I want him to have his own room, so he can go outside on a patio terrace and maybe have a glass of wine while having that conversation.”
Privacy is precisely what a new hospice will give patients once the new £21m complex is built next to St Ann’s.
The plans include 21 private rooms – all with individual outdoor terraces – so end-of-life patients and their families can share precious moments together in privacy.
The hospice has launched Build It Together, a public appeal to raise the final £2m needed to build a new hospice on the site next door.
The old building is no longer fit-for-purpose and the charity has warned it will have to close unless it moves into a new home.
Brian (66) is determined to return home, despite a tumour at the base of his spine which leaves him in chronic pain.
He sold his financial services business four years ago after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and his condition is complicated by suspected deep vein thrombosis in his left leg, possibly caused by steroid treatment.
Brian said: “With the tumour pressing on my spinal cord, the pain increased 10-fold. I have to lie down all of the day and wear a corset to tilt my body up slightly for a few hours to relieve the pain.
“I’m staying positive, even though I’ve been told I only have up to 12 months to live. I receive radiotherapy and although it’s a long, slow process my aim is to get out of bed and stand up.
“My big ambition is to go back to my flat, walk through the door, cook a meal and have a glass of wine watching television.
“I’m going to cook the meal I had after I came to St Ann’s a couple of weeks ago… salmon with feta cheese, cooked in filo pastry, with Jersey royal potatoes and a nice cream sauce. That’s the plan.
“St Ann’s is out of this world. The people are fantastic and can’t do enough for you. They’re tending to me at 4 in the morning while the rest of the world is asleep.
“Anything I need I press the buzzer and help is there. It’s the little things which matter a lot. From what I’ve heard of the plans here, they’ll be phenomenal.
“I can’t find fault with the treatment here, but I can understand how things can be improved. They do so well in the circumstances with the building, but a new hospice will offer so much more in terms of facilities and space and that’ll make a big difference to the end of people’s lives.”
* To donate to the St Ann’s Hospice appeal visit https://newhospice.sah.org.uk/donate/