MORE than a third more patients will be cared for at St Richard’s Hospice as the charity announces £1.4million plans to extend the Inpatient Unit.

Work is due to start in June to build four new bedrooms as well as redevelop existing rooms to create 13 single rooms and two double rooms at the hospice on Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

There are also plans to build a second family sitting room, therapies room, satellite nurse station, IPU manager’s office, case conference room and doctor’s room.

It is expected that the bigger In-patient Unit will begin caring for more patients in April 2014 and could take up to 74 more admissions each year.

Chief executive Mark Jackson said: “Our feedback from patients and their families is always very positive but after a detailed survey we realised that changing to mainly single rooms will radically improve the privacy and dignity of a patient.”

Mr Jackson explained that single rooms were more popular with patients and families and said the extra bed availability would help prevent inappropriate admissions to the NHS Acute or Community Hospitals.

He said: “Many of our patients’ conditions are very complex and we will be able to offer more compassionate, attentive and individual care in single rooms.”

The charity has applied to the Department of Health for the maximum grant of £750,000 and is optimistic that it will receive good news in March.

The remaining funds will be met from some unexpected and generous gifts in wills as well as from grant-making trusts and hospice reserves.

Mr Jackson added: “We are using the money wisely by building in the capacity to convert two more rooms to single rooms should the need arise in the future, giving us the potential capacity of caring for 19 patients.

“We are building for the future and thank the community for their continued support of St Richard’s which ensures we are here to serve local people when they need us.”

One of the bedrooms will be a double-bedded family room so a patient and family members can stay together overnight.

The two double rooms will also be able to be sub divided into four single rooms if required.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and supports their families.

In the In-patient Unit specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if they so choose, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity.