The emergency care and end of life at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust teams have worked together to create the suite in the emergency department of Sunderland Royal Hospital, offering a private area for families to say their final goodbyes to loved ones away from the busy department.
The room, which has been fitted out with comfortable furniture, quiet music and reed diffusers donated by members of the public, is already in use and has also helped create a a haven by staff when they have faced a tough shift.
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The room includes artwork from retired nurse Derrick Johnson and an iconic photo of a rainbow over the hospital, which was taken at the beginning of the pandemic by a member of staff.
Emergency Department Junior Sister Lesley Young, who has led the project, said: “The Emergency Department sees some of our sickest patients, many of which will have taken ill quite quickly or have experienced some kind of sudden trauma, such as a car accident or fall.
“Covid-19 has meant that many families have not been able to be with their loved ones when they have had to come into hospital and this can greatly add to their distress, especially when the patient is very poorly or deteriorates quickly.
“Bringing families together at end of life and in such exceptional circumstances is something we have always tried to do, but we wanted to do more to make sure they could spend those precious last moments together in a safe and comfortable space away from clinical areas.
"After speaking to colleagues, patients and relatives about what was important to them, we created the quiet room.
“Everything about the room is designed to be calming and non-clinical.
"It has also really helped some of our patients who have additional needs and can get quite overwhelmed in a hospital environment; as well as a lovely space for our staff to take some time to reflect or relax after particular busy or challenging periods.”