'Make a world of difference to families': New room in Sunderland Royal Hospital for families to spend last precious hours

Families with loved ones receiving end-of-life care will be able to spend their last few hours together at a new facility in Sunderland.

Thursday, 13th June 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 13th June 2019, 4:02 pm

A quiet room has been created at Sunderland Royal Hospital to provide a private space for families to come together and say goodbye to their loved ones.

The facility, which is located next to the new emergency unit, was designed by the department’s end-of-life team.

It features soft lighting and furnishings along with photographs, taken by trust nurse, Derrick Johnson.

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There is also an adjoining family room with refreshment facilities.

The team came up with the idea of the room when they were designing the new emergency department, which opened in June 2017.

Emergency department nurses, Kayleigh Brown and Lindsey Wakefield have also created support packs for families who had experienced a sudden or unexpected death.

Up to that point, relatives had been given a plastic bag containing personal items.

The packs include a candle, a thinking-of-you card, forget-me-not seeds, a small box for personal items and small bag should relative which to keep a lock of hair.

Kayleigh said: “We see some of the sickest patients in the emergency department and sadly not all of them will get better and return home.

“This can be extremely distressing for relatives and the thought of handing them a plastic bag with personal items in felt very impersonal.

“We developed the support packs to help with the bereavement process and to support staff when they have to give families bad news. These keepsakes can make a world of difference to families at such a difficult time and be of huge comfort.

“We have received amazing feedback from colleagues and the public and the packs are now being piloted across other areas of the hospital.”

Dave Bramley, Clinical Director for Emergency Care, said: “Having access to the quiet room and support packs helps us to manage that process in a much better way and give relatives the advice and support that they need.”