Families, carers and friends of patients who die at Walsall Manor Hospital will now be given a “bereavement bag” for their loved ones’ personal belongings which will also help staff identify people who may be in need of additional support.
Launched today (1 February 2018) on Dignity Action Day, the bereavement bags have been designed to feature the Tree of Life, the symbol that Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust uses to denote patients who are approaching the end of their life. It is hoped that when Trust staff see the bag they will understand that the person has recently experienced a loss and if they look lost or are struggling then appropriate support can be offered.
Tim Mortimer, Walsall Healthcare’s Bereavement Officer, said: “We wanted to personalise the bags that people use to take away loved ones’ belongings and the new bags have been funded through our Well Wishers charity.
“As well us being able to provide a new, clean bag for these belongings we also wanted to do something to raise awareness among our staff – and others as the bags become more widely used – that the person carrying one has suffered a bereavement. They may well need extra support and if this encourages all of us at the Manor Hospital to be mindful of others it is a positive thing.”
Georgie Westley, Walsall Healthcare’s Fundraising Manager, added: “Our Well Wishers charity donations are used to purchase items above and beyond what the NHS is able to provide and to enhance the experience of patients and their families.
“We appreciate that losing a loved one is extremely difficult for families, friends and carers to deal with and while this is only a small gesture it is a meaningful one.”
Pat Yapp, Senior Sister on Ward 7, said: “These are a really good idea and much better for bereaved people.”
Dignity Action Day is an annual opportunity health and social care workers and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.