Blossom Boxes which aim to improve and standardise end of life and bereavement care for patients and strengthen support for their families and carers are now being made available across all wards at Walsall Manor Hospital.
The boxes were initially trialled across three wards back in November 2018 and the ambition was to roll them out across the hospital. But the Covid-19 pandemic meant that this had to be put on hold until earlier this month.
Now they have been supplied to all wards across the hospital – to the delight of everyone involved in the initial project which was developed using feedback from patients and their families. Each ward or department has two palliative and end of life link nurses and the boxes have been launched with them present as they will be taking ownership of this project on their wards.
The idea came from a bereavement focus group set up by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and has been led by Sarah Griffin, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and funded by the trust’s Well Wishers charity.
Sarah explained that they will be used for patients identified as approaching the last hours or days of their life who have indicated that their preferred place of care and death is to remain in hospital and will support all medical and nursing staff to ensure a consistent approach. This also helps to raise awareness among other non-clinical staff such as porters, security and housekeeping.
She said: “Blossom Boxes include a number of personal touches as well as necessary documentation to support staff. Items include materials for families to take hand prints of their loved one, keepsake organza bags for the removal of jewellery or to keep a lock of hair and comfort packs for refreshment.
“There are laminated pictures of coloured glass trees, modelled on the end of life tree at Walsall Palliative Care Centre. These are to be displayed on the doors of side rooms or bay curtains (once consent is gained from the patient, family or carer) to indicate to staff working on the ward and visiting the ward that the patient is approaching the end of their life.
“We are so pleased to finally be able to offer these across all our wards – particularly as they have been developed in partnership with patients and families and draw on their experiences. It is so important that we all work together to ensure everyone involved in the care of a patient approaching the end of their life is clear about their wishes and preferences. End of life care is everyone’s business and we have one chance to get it right”
Staff using Blossom Boxes also work to an end of life care pledge adhering to six national commitments and six ambitions in line with the National ‘End of Life Care Strategy’ ensuring person-centred care, fair access and co-ordinated care.
Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley added: “The charity is fully supportive of Blossom Boxes and was happy to fund the rollout across the trust – a lot of thought and care has gone into creating them as part of the trust’s efforts to enhance end of life care.”