A four-bedroom house has opened at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals to give blood cancer patients home from home accommodation instead of long hospital admissions.
Rosemere House, which is in a quiet residential road near Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has a mix of double and single ensuite rooms, a large lounge and relaxation area and a kitchen where guests can make themselves meals and snacks.
More than £140,000 has been spent refurbishing Rosemere House, through fundraising spearheaded by consultant haematologist Dr Paul Cahalin (pictured here with Joanne Wilson, haematology unit manager), his team and some of his former patients and relatives.
The haematology department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is Lancashire’s and South Cumbria’s regional specialist blood cancer treatment centre. Patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria with serious blood cancers requiring specialist chemotherapy are treated in the regional unit in Blackpool.
Advances in chemotherapy care means many more patients are now treated as day cases but they must they live less than 40 minutes’ drive away in case they experience side-effects or become unwell and need to return to hospital.
That means everyone else, including patients from further afield such as Blackburn, the South Lakes and Barrow-on-Furness, or those that do not have transport back to the hospital, cannot benefit from treatment at home and need to stay in hospital, often for many months.
Dr Cahalin said: “Rosemere House means we now have the only day case care unit of its type in the North West able to treat every eligible patient without the need for a hospital admission.
“Wards are noisy. They have set food times. There’s a lack of privacy. Many patients don’t sleep well so they aren’t as rested, comfortable or mobile as they would be at home. Staying at Rosemere House allows patients to retain their independence and enjoy home comforts and the comfort of having their partner or loved one stay with them while still having the full support of our specialist team.”
Dr Cahalin added: “Undergoing treatment this way not only benefits the patient, it saves the NHS money and frees up valuable in-patient beds for those who really need them.”
Former patient Pete Laithwaite is a businessman who lives in Darwen, Lancashire. He would have been outside of the travel time to have benefitted from day case care. He had to receive all his blood cancer treatment as an in-patient on the regional ward.
Pete said: “Talking from my experience, my wife, kids, wider family and friends all made the journey to visit me on the ward, which was often a two to four hour round trip. Any stay over facility would have been of huge benefit to me and them that I would have gladly accepted.
“My biggest challenge with life on the ward was the 24-hour nature of the ward – the continual bleep of the machines and general operational noise, the fixed and rigid times of the drugs trolley round, breakfast, lunch and dinner, the lack of sleep and regimented routines. Another aspect of where I struggled was compromised privacy. I have a busy business schedule and frequently had to join virtual calls, meetings and engage with phone conversations, which was difficult. Rosemere House would have been perfect.”
We supported Dr Cahalin with a grant of £70,000 from our charitable funds to enable the opening of Rosemere House, and £30,000 was provided from Blackpool Hospitals’ charity Blue Skies. He has been awarded £36,000 from HSBC’s Community Foundation via another former patient Andy Hampson (Pictured here with wife Katrina and Rosemere Chairman John Hodgson), who manages the bank’s Blackpool branch and who worked to secure the donation, and more than £30,000 from other individuals, including Becky Turner, of Darwen, who fundraised in memory of her late brother Tom Maudsley.
(Take a digital tour of the house!)
Thank you so much to all involved for helping to raise these funds – it will make a real difference for blood cancer patients undergoing their treatment.