A group of nurses working on Teesside have created comfort packages to try and help the bereaved families of some of their Covid-19 patients.
The nurses, from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said they had been overwhelmed by the impact of Covid-19 on the families of patients who were unable to have visitors due to social distancing.
“We want family members to feel they are part of the care as much as possible”
Rachel de Silva
But they highlighted that those patients who had died from the virus had taken great comfort in having a nurse by their side in their final moments.
It was incredibly hard, however, for the loved ones of these patients, who had the opportunity for virtual visits via iPads, but were not able to hold hands in the final moments, they noted.
As a result, nurses on the trust’s surgical decision unit and ward 30 decided to come up with a way to try and provide comfort to bereaved families who had to stay away from the hospital.
The team came up with the idea of putting together a small token candle accompanied by a poem, which have now been distributed to local funeral directors to share with grieving families.
The nurses have been able to make more than 400 of these comfort bags so far using some of their own money, said the trust. The poem was written by staff nurse Claire Pollock (see below).
The critical care team at the trust also have their own supply to share with relatives who need them most.
“These care packages are a thoughtful, considerate token that will offer comfort to all involved”
One of those involved in the initiative, staff nurse Rachel de Silva, noted that she and her colleagues “have had to work extraordinarily in many ways over the past few months”.
“We have seen amazing levels of care being delivered to every single patient that arrives at our trust, but we have seen some very sad scenes too,” she said.
“We want family members to feel they are part of the care as much as possible, and this is a genuine, heartfelt way of doing that. I’m so pleased they have been so well received by everyone.”
Tom Bingham, specialist services clinical manager, said: “To be able to give the families a token gesture like the ones Claire and her team have provided is absolutely invaluable – it lets family and friends know that we are thinking of them, as well as offering a link in with their loved ones.”
Alison Crake, senior partner at Crake and Mallon Funeral Service, added: “These care packages are a thoughtful, considerate token that will offer comfort to all involved.”
Poem by Claire Pollock
My hand was held nice and tight. By a caring nurse as I lost my fight.
Please understand I wasn’t alone. The safest place for you was home.
I know it’s hard for you to comprehend. But I know I was loved until the end.