New Mortuary Viewing Rooms for Frenchay and Southmead Hospitals

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

New mortuary viewing rooms with gardens, artworks, and vastly improved facilities will enhance the experiences of people saying goodbye to loved ones who have died at Frenchay or Southmead hospital.
The new rooms are a stark contrast to the old viewing rooms which were outdated, lacking in privacy, and not suitable for children.
Today’s opening of the rooms marks 18 months’ work by a project team to transform the interior and exterior of the rooms, and the gardens.
The design of the viewing rooms was informed by surveys of people using the existing rooms and open days attended by patients and members of the public. Funding came from charitable donations, the Kings Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment programme, and the Trust.
Over the next five years, around 20,000 people are expected to benefit from the new facilities.
Features of the new viewing rooms include:
· Private gardens with spaces for quiet contemplation - french doors open into the garden at the Frenchay site; and Southmead’s garden will house a sculpture
· Covered outside seating so parents who have lost a baby have the opportunity to take the baby into the garden
· Creative glass artwork for windows to maximise privacy (designed by artist Judy Foote)
· Embroidered bier covers (designed by textile artist Anne Griffiths)
· More space and light, with a larger waiting area which includes tea and coffee-making facilities.
In addition, an upcoming art project with two local schools will create a piece of artwork for each site.
Project Manager Lesley Le-Pine said:
“We wanted to create a tranquil, quiet place with a private, peaceful garden; so relatives and friends could take their time and not feel rushed when saying goodbye to loved ones.
“In particular, people told us how important gardens were, especially for parents who had lost a baby. They told us they wanted to be able to go outside, in the fresh air, so they could feel their baby had seen the sky, not just hospital rooms.
“This work has gone further than we first envisaged – through hearing patients’ and the public’s views, we realised how much the environment impacts people’s grieving experiences. When you look at the new rooms compared to what was previously available, the difference is unbelievable – and it’s incredibly satisfying to know that this might help people find peace at a very difficult time.”

Notes for Editors:
· North Bristol NHS Trust was one of 19 NHS Trusts to receive funding and training from the Kings Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment programme. Charitable donations towards the rooms were also received from the Southmead League of Friends, League of Friends of Frenchay, the North Bristol Endowment funds, the WRVS for Frenchay, Department of Health - Privacy & Dignity Office, Thornbury Round Table, and the John Lewis Partnership.
· To inform the work, people using the rooms were surveyed; over 200 people participated in open days and contributed their ideas; and feedback was sought from Trust Patient Panel members, carers, local funeral directors, and SANDS – a support group for bereaved parents who have lost a baby.
· NBT is currently taking part in a national evaluation on mortuary viewing environments with Nottingham University.