Improving the environment in which to say goodbye

Monday, 16 February 2009

Bereaved patients at NBT will have a much better environment in which to say goodbye to their loved ones thanks to a redevelopment project which will see the mortuary viewing rooms transformed.
The environment and design of the mortuary viewing rooms will be redesigned this year by a project that will look at the exterior building, interior features and overall experience.
There are around 50 deaths per week across the trust which means that on average there could be as many as 25 viewings a week. This means that over five years, nearly 20,000 people will benefit from the new facilities.
The transformation originates from a patient panel audit which found the current mortuary rooms outdated, badly designed and not fit for purpose.
Following this audit, NBT applied to the Kings Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment programme to become one of 19 NHS hospitals to receive funding and training to improve facilities to care for patients at the end of life and the bereaved.
Each project aims to physically improve an area used by patients and relatives and must be run by a nurse-led, multi-disciplinary team.
After a successful application, a team of five are now responsible for the project: Lesley Le Pine, Head of Clinical Governance; Sarah Hart, Senior A.P Technician; John Pitchers, APT Mortuary; Alex Bowles, Project Manager and Marika Hills, Assistant Lead Cancer Nurse/Project Manager.
Each team has an initial budget of £40,000, and each team member has attended the King's Fund education programme to develop their leadership skills and gain practical skills to make their project a success.
The project has received charitable donations from the Southmead League of Friends, Friends of Frenchay, the North Bristol Endowment funds, and the WRVS outlets .
Marika Hills, Project Manager, said:
“The aim of this project is to upgrade, renovate and refurbish the mortuary viewing rooms on both the Southmead and Frenchay sites. In addition, we are going to create sensory gardens that allow for peace and tranquillity and a space for quiet contemplation.
“The aim is to have an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to the newly bereaved, is calm and peaceful, coveys comfort and serenity, and allows carers to spend time to say goodbye to their loved ones following death.
“Over 200 NBT staff members took part in two open day events last year which gave the team lots of very useful ideas and creative and thoughtful ways in which this environment could be enhanced. These views, together with results from a survey of user’s views and experiences of the
environment, have been incorporated into our development plans.
“We are also working with a local artist to develop designs for creative glass film which will give privacy to the areas whilst providing light and an artistic backdrop to the environment.

“The internal spaces will be enlarged to provide more waiting area space, will be furnished and decorated, and will include tea and coffee-making facilities. There will be access to the private outdoor gardens where covered seating will be available.
“We hope the new internal and external space will make a big difference to bereaved families and their last memories of their loved ones.”