New Year edition feature

AS 2021 DAWNS the staff, volunteers and patients at Thames Hospice are ready to face a new decade in their new £22million home near Bray Lake in Windsor Road, Maidenhead.

The move from the increasingly cramped site in Hatch Lane, Windsor to the new home was finally achieved in October after years of fund raising and hard work.

Maidenhead MP and former Prime Minister Theresa May and EastEnders star Ross Kemp have been among the visitors who have called in to say congratulations and to meet patients.

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The hospice's head of marketing Stephanie Peters said: "It has been a really smooth transition in spite of the challenging times. Everyone has really settled in.

"The extra space has made all the difference."

No-one wanted the move into Tier 4 - but things are very different from last year's lockdown which forced the hospice the curtail visiting hours and temporarily end 'on site' day care.

Stephanie said: "We have learned a lot and have more space.

"Visitors can still come between 2pm and 9pm. But we are restricting it to two named visitors only, except for the last 48 hours of life.

"We now have a dedicated visitors' room and visitors' bedroom."

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Day therapy can also carry on under the new lockdown thanks to the extra space.

Stephanie said: "We now have a dedicated room for day therapy, which only happened twice a week in the old building because we had to share it with the hospice's Sanctuary.

"Now the hospice's Sanctuary or 'quiet room' does not have to be used and we can have day therapy four times a week here."

Day therapy is still carried out in peoples' homes as well though.

Stephanie said: "Demand has increased massively for home care because people are being encouraged not to go into hospital at the moment."

Two of the new site's 10 patient wings are open and both are fully occupied - the 20 patients already making three more than the 17 that could be accommodated on the whole of the old site in Hatch Lane.

The third wing when it opens in the New Year it will be able to take another eight.

The hospice played its part is looking after Covid victims on its old site.

There are none at the moment but the extra space and third wing means they will be able to be cared for safely and comfortably without risk to others should the situation occur.

It it is 33 years now since the hospice was opened by the Queen. Its future on its new site now seemed assured - but it relies on public support to survive and donations from the public will always play a vital role in its survival through its charity shops or through fund raising events.