A series of scenic light boxes have been installed along a corridor in The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough to help comfort bereaved families.
The light boxes, funded by the acute specialist palliative care team trust fund, cancer charity Macmillan and James Cook University Hospital Voluntary Services, have been installed in the hospital’s service corridor which leads to the mortuary.
In the past relatives were escorted down the dull, busy service corridor to the mortuary viewing room to view their loved ones, as there is no alternative route.
It is hoped that the light box pictures, which depict the route to North Yorkshire landmark Roseberry Topping, will provide a more pleasant walkway and be a distraction for grieving relatives.
The installation of the lights comes after national charity Hospice UK performed a ‘fresh eyes’ visit to the hospital. The purpose of the visit was to review the provision of service throughout the hospital for patients at the end of life.
Macmillan palliative and end of life support sister, Laura Graham, said: “We wanted to improve the corridor and experience for bereaved relatives, staff and the public who use it.
“The task and finish group worked in collaboration with the mortuary staff, estates, South Tees Hospitals Charity, voluntary services and Macmillan to look at the best way of improving the environment for those grieving.
“The new lights have made a big impact and have really brightened the corridor. I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved, including the trust’s estates team who kindly fitted some of the lights free of charge. It’ll make a huge difference for those using this area.”
Laura, who is one of the support sisters from the trust’s Dragonfly Scheme, added: “We hope the lights will become a signature of future ‘dragonfly rooms’ within the trust which we hope to continue to raise funds for with help from our charities team.”
The Dragonfly Scheme was developed by the trust’s palliative care team in 2016 and ensures relatives who wish to stay by their loved ones’ side in their final days can be as comfortable as possible.
Georgina Oakley, services manager for James Cook University Hospital Voluntary Services, said her team were delighted to fund such a worthwhile project. “When you walk down the service corridor your eyes are now immediately drawn to the lovely pictures and sky lights” she said. “I hope it helps the grieving relatives of the patients who sadly have died.”
The mortuary viewing room has also been refurbished and showcases new prints that were provided by a nursing colleague.
Matron Paula Taggart added: “We hope that the changes the teams have made to the environment will go some way to make what is an extremely difficult situation for relatives who have to visit the mortuary more bearable, and the corridor is much more pleasant for staff to use as well.”
For more information visit The James Cook University Hospital and The fresh eyes approach to improve experience of care