Staff and volunteers at Lewis-Manning Hospice in Poole became the first people to stay overnight at 1 Crichel Mount Road since Marjorie Lewis-Manning herself almost 26 years ago.

The charity, which is currently celebrating its 21st anniversary, intends to open its first in-patient bedrooms in the first half of 2014 offering respite, rehabilitation and end of life care and is preparing for its recruitment drive in January for clinical and non-clinical roles. In addition the organisation will also be looking for people of all ages who can give up a bit of their time to fill a number volunteer roles.

Elizabeth Purcell, Chief Executive at Lewis-Manning, explains,“The opening of rooms will also open up opportunities to form a new team. So many health care professionals have told us they would like to have more time with patients. At Lewis-Manning we are here to give just that: ‘time to care’.”

Fifteen current members of staff, volunteers and supporters packed their overnight bags to take part in the bed testing. Although they were able to enjoy the spectacular views over Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy a hearty breakfast, the night was not all about relaxation, as Sandra Cox, Finance and Operations Manager explains: “Before the bedrooms open to our first external guests and patients it is essential that we ‘test’ the facilities so we have a clear idea of where we need to concentrate our efforts.

This meant a disturbed night’s sleep for everyone with a bit of role-playing as we wanted to check all sorts of scenarios and evaluate everything from the comfort of rooms, such as bed positions, temperature, light and noise, to unexpected and uninvited ‘intruders’ and of course an emergency evacuation!.

Everyone at the hospice is very excited about the bedrooms opening and with the overwhelming support of the community, we’ve all been very determined and working very hard to make it happen. Despite the importance of the task, we all had great fun and stayed up to the early hours playing out various scenes!”

The hospice already supports over 650 local people and currently provides a range of services run by the Lewis-Manning doctor and a team of specialist palliative care nurses including Day Hospice, Lymphoedema Clinic, Breathlessness Clinic and Physiotherapy Clinic.

To register your interest in recruitment please visit www.lewis-manning.co.uk or call 01202 708470.

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