A much-loved Scottish hospice which has provided palliative care and family support to thousands of patients for more than 40 years is now planning an expansion to help it meet patient needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Strathcarron Hospice is hoping to build an extension that will give patients and staff better facilities and much-needed space – something that has become crucial because of restrictions imposed to tackle Covid.
Plans submitted to Falkirk Council show designs for a new building, linked by a footbridge to the original hospice in Fankerton, near Denny.
The new area will include a large meeting room, a laundry room, offices and other staff facilities.
And the hospice’s chief executive says it will make a huge difference to staff and patients alike, creating more space for patients and their families.
Irene McKie said: “This year marks the 40th anniversary of Strathcarron first opening its doors as an independent hospice, and we have been caring for patients and their families from across all our local communities every day since.
“We have expanded the number of hospice staff and services over the years and the building is now too small for our needs. Covid has really emphasised this.
“Our plans, if they are to go ahead, will allow patients and staff across departments to benefit from a more comfortable space for safe and social distancing, as well as access to up-to-date facilities. “
The application, in pre-planning stage, proposes that the new building will be accessed via a footbridge over part of the lower ground car park.
Ms McKie added: “This spacious, new and improved extension will be a much-needed upgrade to the staff changing area.
“Relocating our laundry room will also mean we can expand our patient kitchen, as well as free up space for more advantageous use, for example, creating more rooms to accommodate family guests overnight.
“We are ambitious to always do more.
“The proposed phased expansion plans will provide us with the new facilities and space we really need to enable us to continue to deliver better service and care for our patients”.
The new building has been carefully designed to be fully accessible with wide corridors to allow plenty of room for manoeuvring wheelchairs.
It will mean the loss of a few car parking spaces, but the hospice says that more people have been working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and this trend is expected to continue.
By local democracy reporter Kirsty Paterson