New end of life memory boxes will comfort relatives at Shropshire hospital

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.
Alison Harper, Governance Lead for the Clinical Services Unit, and Julie Roberts, Assistant Chief Nurse

Families who lose a loved one at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Oswestry, Shropshire, are set to receive special memory boxes to provide comfort and help them grieve.

Last year the hospital formally pledged its support to the implementation of the Swan Scheme, a national initiative first launched by Salford Royal NHS Trust, which aims to support patients in their final days of life and their families into bereavement and beyond. The Trust has now purchased enough Swan boxes for every single ward in the hospital.

The boxes contain information leaflets for relatives, toiletries for the patient or their loved ones, lip balm, a pack of tissues, a small ribbon-tie bag for jewellery or a hair lock, and a bag for their belongings. Two knitted keepsake love hearts are also in the boxes – one for the patient and one for a loved one. These were knitted by Jill Pickup and Alison Utting through the hospital’s League of Friends volunteer group. The boxes will also contain free car parking vouchers for relatives, as well as hot drink and cake vouchers.

Resources for the staff members providing end of life care will also be included, such as a Swan End of Life file with an end of life care plan, policies and ‘Bereavement Management in a Time of Crisis’, a booklet written by Jules Lewis, End of Life Care Facilitator at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Jules Lock, End of Life care volunteer, and Roy Lilley, health writer.

Julie Roberts, Assistant Chief Nurse at RJAH and the Trust’s End of Life Lead, said: “It’s a really great step forward that we now have Swan boxes on every ward in the hospital. We hope the boxes bring comfort to patients and their loved ones, as well as help them grieve.

“End of life care is absolutely crucial, regardless of whether you’re an acute or elective Trust. The number of deaths we see each year is low but that doesn’t mean to say end of life care isn’t important to us here at RJAH. We only have one chance to get it right, for every person, every single time.”

For more information visit The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital