Hospitals in Lincolnshire are transforming the care they provide to patients at the end of life and their families.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has recently launched the Swan scheme and started to develop this across the wards.
This is about ensuring consistent end of life care is provided to hospital patients, and will include end of life care training for all hospital staff, establishing new volunteering roles to support end of life care and resources such as memory bags to help families in these circumstances.
The scheme was initiated by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and contributed to them achieving an Outstanding CQC rating for end of life care. It has now been adopted by approximately 50 NHS trusts nationally.
Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse at ULHT, Sarah Ward, said: “The memories of how we care for patients in the last days and hours of life, lives on for those important to them and is an indicator of care quality.
“We have chosen to adopt and adapt the Swan scheme for our hospitals because we believe it has the ability to really improve how we manage end of life care for our patients and their families.
“This piece of work began last year with the opening of our new Swanpool bereavement suite at Lincoln County Hospital, but it will reach beyond to ultimately involve all of our staff.
“It’s about all of the little things that really make a difference to our patients and their relatives during this difficult time.”
The Swan scheme will include elements such as:
- Bespoke staff education, from porters to clinicians
- Swan volunteers, who will be trained to support specific cases, such as patients with no family / friends
- Handmade Swan bags to replace the standard hospital-issue bags used to give belongings back to relatives after someone has died
- The introduction of Swan Ambassadors- members of staff who are dedicated to ensuring we get end of life care right for our patients will be recognised and awarded a Swan badge to acknowledge their ability to champion the scheme
- Swan “Team of the Month” for the team nominated as having made a significant contribution to end of life care that month
- Swan boxes encouraged on each ward which contain resources to support enhanced care, such as memory bags and comfort packs for relatives
- Swan parking permit for those collecting death certificate
Ward clerk on EAU at Grantham and District Hospital, Wendy Spridgens, became a Swan ambassador in January after creating a one-stop cupboard on the ward which contains all the information and resources for staff, patients and relatives around bereavement.
This includes bereavement bags, swan bags and specially decorated envelopes which contain supporting information for those who have been bereaved.
Wendy, who enjoys crafts outside of work, has been busy sewing bags and decorating envelopes to ensure that families and relatives are supported in the best possible way and so that staff have easy access to materials when they are needed.
She said: “I was presented with a swan certificate and swan badge after making an official place for all of these resources to be on the ward. I think it has been really appreciated by staff, patients and their families and I hope it has gone a little way to make a really sad time that bit easier.”