Dying patients will now receive extra care and relief with comfort sponges being offered inside Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s blossom boxes.
Blossom boxes were introduced to the trust in 2018. The boxes are initiated for patients identified as approaching the last hours or days of their life and will support all medical and nursing staff to ensure a consistent approach.
Palliative Care and Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) received covid funding for the comfort sponges. Comfort sponges are used to deliver taste, moisture and artificial saliva to dying patients in their last days of life.
This improvement follows verbal feedback given by staff and families highlighting that there was not an effective method of delivering this essential part of care for dying patients. With clear direction from staff, families can also use the comfort sponge, enabling them to be a part of their loved one’s care.
Palliative Care Specialist Nurse Practitioner Lizzie Walters-Mabbott said:
“Dying patients can often develop a dry mouth which is compounded by the use of oxygen therapy, open mouth breathing and the use of antimuscarinic medications.
“The comfort sponge is a tool to provide spiritual care to our dying patients enabling the delivery of tastes and moisture when they are no longer able to physically eat or drink and can also be used to apply artificial saliva to the lining in the mouth.
“We hope that staff will support families where possible to be involved in this vital part of nursing care for our dying patients”.
“The blossom box is a fantastic tool to support the wards in providing high quality individualised end of life care to our dying patients. To be able to make this addition to the blossom box will continue to improve the quality of care we deliver to our patients. There will be a laminated safety sheet also within the blossom box to refer to for safe use.”