FACILITIES used by people after the death of a loved one have been transformed as part of a £92,000 upgrade at Colchester General Hospital.

The hospital’s two bereavement suites, which are located on the ground floor of the main building, have been refurbished.

Family members go there following the death of a loved one in the hospital to meet a bereavement officer who issues the death certificate and advises what to do next.

The facilities are adjacent to the mortuary so people also gather there before viewing a loved one.

Guy Singleton, mortuary and bereavement services manager, said: “Before work began on this project, the two current bereavement suites were rather stark and uninviting but the refurbishment has transformed them.

“We no longer feel embarrassed when meeting with bereaved people using the service.”

Furniture for both rooms was funded by a donation of £3,450 from the Colchester League of Hospital & Community Friends.

John Fulcher, capital project manager, said: “Both suites have been stripped out and fitted with new carpets, have new dimmable mood lighting and new tables, sofas and chairs, as well as being totally redecorated.

“Other features include fitting blinds and installing some panelling on the walls so that it feels more like being at home than in a stark hospital office.”

The project, which took 10 weeks to complete, also included the installation of a mini-kitchen so that staff can make hot drinks for people using the bereavement suites.

The post-mortem examination room, which had seen only minimal investment since the hospital opened in 1984, was also upgraded.

The work included new flooring, lighting, wipe clean walling, stainless steel base and wall cabinets and worktops.