Hospitals' gifts of comfort for relatives

December 19 2017
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THE relatives and carers of patients nearing the end of their lives in Bristol's city centre hospitals will be offered a Comfort Box to help make their stay in hospital with loved ones more comfortable.

THE relatives and carers of patients nearing the end of their lives in Bristol's  city centre hospitals will be offered a Comfort Box to help make their stay in hospital with loved ones more comfortable.

The boxes, funded by local hospital charity Above & Beyond, contain small, comforting items that make a big difference when it is difficult to leave a loved one’s side. Items include toiletries, including a toothbrush, wet wipes and hand cream, a sleeping mask and ear plugs plus tea, coffee and biscuits. Also included is a leaflet which provides useful information about visiting hours, arranging an overnight stay and where to buy food and drink on hospital sites.

Respecting the needs of families and friends of end of life care patients has been cited as one of five priorities in the ‘One Chance to Get it Right’ report by the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People. NHS England has deemed the approach outlined in the report as the touchstone for end of life care for all health and care professionals. A feedback form will be included in the Comfort Box so that hospital staff can evaluate and continually improve relative and carer experience.

Sue Coghlan, Sister on Ward 78 at St Michael’s Hospital, said: “During difficult times, it really is the little things that can make all the difference to a relative’s or carer’s stay on the ward. Having simple amenities such as the ability to make yourself a cup of tea in the early hours without having to leave your loved one’s side is so important. These comfort boxes will allow us to provide the best possible care for the patient and their family, friend or carer when they need it most.”

Paul Kearney, CEO of Above & Beyond, added: “Our hospital staff gives excellent care to patients and the Comfort Box will allow them to offer that little bit extra to relatives and carers as well. Providing comfort in times of need is vitally important and, in difficult circumstances, we’re proud to be able to support the staff in going above and beyond what the NHS can provide.”

The funds for the Comfort Box initiative were approved by Above & Beyond’s board of trustees. Staff have also used the funds to purchase special chairs that convert into a bed for visitors staying overnight.

Other grants approved by trustees this year include £108,000 for the continuation of the much-valued free hospital bus service used by 12,000 patients, visitors and staff per month and £10,283 for an educational, app-based projection system, Magic Carpet, to keep young patients engaged and active during stays in the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

Founded in 1974, Above & Beyond is the local charity fundraising for all nine city centre hospitals, many of which are specialist centres for the South West region. Each year Above & Beyond raises £3m to make a real difference to patient care and hospital experience with a focus on creating welcoming environments, supporting staff training, providing the latest equipment and funding innovative research.

To support Above & Beyond so that it can continue to make a difference to patients and their loved ones, visit:http://www.aboveandbeyond.org.uk