The first phase of building work to create new community palliative care and medicine at Arbroath Infirmary has begun.
The project, a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Tayside, will see substantial investment to help those living with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses as well as improving facilities on the wards.
NHS Tayside Chairman, Professor John Connell and Trisha Hatt, Senior Macmillan Development Manager marked the start of the first phase of building work at Arbroath Infirmary with a visit to see how work has progressed in the first couple of weeks.
They were joined by Brian Ward, Contracts Manager from building contractor Hatrick Bruce, Alasdair Rankin from project architects Aitken Turnbull, Jean Sargeant, Associate Macmillan Development Manager, Councillor Glennis Middleton, Chair of the Integrated Joint Board for the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, Gail Smith, Head Of Community Health and Care Services, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership and Liz Goss, Service Manager, Adult Services, Angus Health & Social Care Partnership.
Macmillan Cancer Support is working with NHS Tayside to enhance care for patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, ensuring patients and their family receive access to care locally. Over 1200 people die of cancer each year in Tayside and the expected increase in cancer prevalence in Scotland means even more people in the area are going to be affected by the disease.
To ensure that those who are affected by cancer receive the best possible care, it was recognised that palliative care services should be developed further to support people in the community.
Currently there are three Macmillan Community Nurse Specialists who provide much-needed support at home. NHS Tayside is recruiting an additional Macmillan Community Nurse Specialist. In addition, specialist palliative care services will continue to provide outpatient clinics and day care that support community-based palliative care in Angus.
For many people, having locally accessible services will reduce the need to travel, which can be very uncomfortable for patients. In addition to the enhanced community-based palliative care, Roxburghe House in Dundee will continue to provide inpatient specialist palliative care for Angus patients.
To minimise disruption to patients, the building project is being carried out in two phases, with the first phase of improvement work starting in the medicine for the elderly wards where three side rooms with en suite facilities are being created.
Work to make the ward areas more dementia-friendly is also being carried out. Colours and contrasts will be used which aid older people with declining mental ability and memory and visual problems to remain orientated to their environment.
This will be supported by signage which is easy to see and read, clocks which orientate people to the here and now, chairs which stand out from the floor colour and using colours for toilet door and nurse stations which encourage patients to wayfind independently. Patient bathrooms will also be refurbished making wet rooms with modern shower units with ease of access.
Funding from the Tayside Health Fund will be used to improve soft furnishings in the dayroom which has stunning views of the local coastline to support patients in their recovery from illness in a dignified and holistic manner. One of the external balconies will also be enclosed, bringing extra space with a homely feel.
The first phase of the work is due to be completed in late summer.
The second phase of the project will see the former Inchcape Ward converted into a brand new Macmillan Day Care Unit which will provide a daycare assessment and treatment facility with two new consultation and treatment rooms, a patient lounge, reception area and a quiet room.
The second phase is planned to take approximately four months.
Professor Connell said: “This is a really important development for people living in Arbroath and the surrounding area. Being able to access services and support when living with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses near to home is essential and this development will provide an outstanding facility. NHS Tayside is delighted that it has been able to work with Macmillan to bring this to fruition.”
Senior Macmillan Development Manager, Trisha Hatt, added: “Macmillan wants to ensure everyone affected by cancer in Arbroath receives the best care and in the most supportive environment. The new and improved inpatient palliative care facilities will make an enormous difference to palliative care patients and their families.
“It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of our supporters in Angus who raise so much money for us that we are able to make such a significant contribution to this important project. We don’t want anyone to face cancer alone, and the continued support of people in Angus will help us make sure nobody does.”