• Date awarded: July 2022
  • Awarded value: £403,160
  • Fund: Victoria Hospital Hospice Fund
  • Location: Victoria Hospice, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
The entrance to the Victoria Hospice which has received funding from Fife Health Charity to undergo extensive refurbishment.

The Victoria Hospice has now reopened following extensive refurbishment, which was part-funded by Fife Health Charity. Initially opened in 1996, the hospice’s recent refurbishment marks the beginning of a new era as it continues to support patients and their families from across Fife with high quality and compassionate palliative care.

Located in the grounds of the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, the Victoria Hospice is a purpose built, specialist palliative care unit, providing inpatient and day care facilities for patients with cancer or other life-limiting illnesses. The hospice's multidisciplinary care team provides care for 8 inpatients plus day care services and support, offering specialist care to meet the physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients. The dedicated staff and the refurbished hospice provide a welcoming, homely and friendly atmosphere for patients and peace of mind for their families, offering expert care and support during their stay.

Fife Health Charity’s support of improving the hospice’s facilities predates the Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2019, the Trustees approved an application for £250,000 to undertake significant improvement works within the Victoria Hospice.  The purpose of the project was to enhance the hospice environment and facilities, thereby improving the experience of the patients cared for within the hospice.  Post pandemic, the charity provided a further tranche of £153,160 in funding, granting a total of £403,160 to support the major project.

A multi-disciplinary team of staff plus patients, relatives and carers were consulted about the initial and subsequent proposals and designs, which included contributing towards the refit of the hospice’s interior accommodation and facilities, providing new state-of-the-art beds and a fantastic redesign of the garden area to enable better access for patient beds, helping patients to benefit from and enjoy being outdoors in suitable seasons and weather.

The aim of hospice care is to improve the lives of people who have an incurable illness. Hospice care places a high value on dignity, respect and the wishes of the person who is ill.  It aims to look after their medical, emotional, social, practical, psychological and spiritual needs, and the needs of the person’s family and carers.  Looking after all these aspects is often referred to as “holistic care”. Care also extends to those who are close to the patient, as well as into the bereavement period following the death of a patient.

Yet, while hospices have traditionally been seen as places where patients spend their last days, over the years the role of hospice care has changed. Today, Victoria Hospice staff work with patients who have a terminal diagnosis alongside caring for patients with complex conditions and assist with symptom control for all patients, as Senior Charge Nurse, Teresa Robertson, explains.“In addition to providing end of life care, the specialist palliative care provided by our multi-disciplinary team based at the hospice includes assessment and symptom management, after which many patients are able to be discharged to another healthcare setting or to their home. And whenever patients cannot be at home, Victoria Hospice provides a welcoming, homely and friendly atmosphere during their stay, providing fulfilling days and peace of mind for their families.

The Difference Our Funding is Making

Following funding from Fife Health Charity, the extensive refurbishment that took place at Victoria Hospice included reconfiguring and redecorating patient bedrooms to introduce individual colour schemes and enhance homeliness; creating a central staff hub, ensuring staff are visible and accessible to staff at all times; improving communal areas and installing a new kitchen; creating a family room for overnight stays, and removing old carpeting and renovating existing oak flooring or laying new flooring. In addition to landscaping the garden and renovating existing facilities such as the summerhouse, access to the garden was improved by lifting the external patio steps to reduce or remove the lip between inside and outside, making it easier for staff to move patient beds outdoors and for patients to enjoy a change of scenery and benefit from being in the fresh air.

As Senior Staff Nurse, Teresa Robertson reports, because the Victoria Hospice had to close during the pandemic and patients were transferred to the Queen Margaret Hospice in Dunfermline, rather than undertaking a few repairs, it felt an opportune time to embark on a more extensive refurbishment project. “After 26 years, there was a lot that needed removed, renewed and improved to make the hospice brighter and a more welcoming, homely and relaxed environment that’s capable of providing the level of care and support our patients and their families deserve.“

Having seen the dedication of the staff and the difference their care makes to their loved ones, it’s not unusual for families and friends to continue to support the hospice as a way to give back. Fife Health Charity and the hospice staff are grateful to the many people who donate to the charity’s Victoria Hospice fund every year, whose kindness helped make this enhanced project happen.

“Every penny we receive goes back into the hospice,” adds Teresa. “We feel really humbled that people think of us when they want to honour their loved ones and are really thankful. Thank you to everyone who donates to Victoria Hospice.”

“Hospice is about living and in a way far better than expected.”

Dame Cicely Saunders, pioneer of modern hospice care.