Wednesday 3rd April 2013
Through a knowledge-sharing exercise, the Palliative Care team at Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland Hospital discovered that the acute-based Palliative Care team in Northumbria had developed a comfort pack for patients and relatives.
The comfort pack consisted of a mixture of toiletries, confectionery and a puzzle book and pen. It also included a simple questionnaire to assess its effectiveness and usefulness.
The Northumbria team had received very positive feedback, with families and friends who have rushed to be with a loved one really appreciating the kind gesture. The team at Darlington felt this could be implemented within its service. This was triggered by a number of episodes where relatives had been travelling long distances to be with loved ones at an emotional and precious time.
Following consultation with the Service Improvement team at Darlington, it was agreed to pilot the project for three months on four wards (a mixture of medicine and surgery). Initial funding came from donations from bereaved relatives and, half way through the process, a kind donation from the organ donation committee.
The clinical sterile supplies department kindly agreed to package the boxes for free, to meet infection control standards. The wards stored these boxes within the clinical area and offered them to relatives when a patient was identified as approaching the end of life.
The pilot proved successful and the aim is to roll out the scheme across the trust within the acute areas. Initial audit of the packs will include evaluation from the questionnaire, relatives’ feedback and informal comments from staff members. At the time of this report, the trust is already receiving further donations specifically for the future of the comfort packs.
Contact Rachel Bradd, Clinical Nurse Specialist or Julie Stephenson.