THE newly refurbished and extended St Brigid’s Hospice which includes the former Drogheda Memorial Hospital will be officially opened in January.
The hospice, which was previously a seven-bed unit, will re-open as a 13 bed unit with a day ward and administration offices now located in the former hospital building.
Approximately 300 members of the public came to view the new facility at an open day for the public in December.
Friends of St Brigid’s Hospice Chairperson Eileen McDonald said that those who came to the public viewing were very impressed with what they saw.
“People were absolutely delighted with what they saw and many people remarked how homely it felt. The facility is currently being fitted out by the HSE who are helping us out with that and we hope to have it open sometime in January. Patients and nursing staff are currently in Moore Abbey and they will be transferring back here once the fitting out work is complete.”
Eileen went on to outline what work was undertaken. “The hospice opened with a seven bed unit in 2004 and since then we have been fundraising and thanks to the generosity of the people of Kildare and West Wicklow we managed to raise substantial funds. The old Drogheda Memorial Hospital is a listed building and quite a lot of detailed work was needed to incorporate that building into the hospice. Our day room and administration areas are in what was the old hospital and the 13 bed unit is all together in the previous hospice building and the new extension.”
The renovation and extension cost approximately €6 million according to Ms McDonald.
“We had originally thought that the work that has been undertaken would cost €3.1 million but due to unforeseen costs and work that was needed, particularly in the old hospital part of the building the final cost increased to €6 million. So we have a shortfall of a couple hundred thousand euro and we are in negotiation with the HSE and we are confident that they will make up the shortfall. What we now have is a first class hospice centre which I think the people of Kildare and West Wicklow can be justifiably proud of.”