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Hospital sends cards as part of bereavement support scheme

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A project to improve support for bereaved families at one of the largest hospitals in Wales has been given a boost thanks to a donation in memory of a member of staff.

The six-month pilot scheme at Morriston Hospital, which is run by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, includes sending condolence cards to those who have lost a loved-one.

“Ward staff send out the condolence cards letting families know we will be in touch”

Alison Gorman

The cards will be paid for with £500 donated by Maureen Noonan, the partner of trainee psychotherapist Carolyn Staines who died earlier this year.

“Carolyn was very well thought of and a lovely member of staff,” said psychologist Alison Gorman, one of the team working on the project.

“As a counsellor and trainee psychotherapist she was working with grieving families and patients with chronic conditions so this felt like a very fitting way to use the donation in her memory,” she said.

The project, which started last month, sees the team follow up the condolence cards by contacting families five or six weeks later and giving them the chance to share any concerns or questions about their loved-one’s death.

Funded jointly by the Morriston Hospital General Purpose Fund and the health board’s charitable funds committee, it will run in six of the hospital’s wards for six months and builds on similar work already being done in A&E.

“After a death, ward staff send out the condolence cards letting families know we will be in touch,” explained Ms Gorman.

“We go up to the wards to collect the patient’s details and this gives ward staff the chance to have a conversation with us about that patient and share experiences of them.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

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Morriston Hospital in Swansea

“After the first month or so, when the practicalities of death have been dealt with and people are getting back into a routine, we get in touch and invite the family back to see if they have any questions.”

The project will also feature workshops for staff on supporting bereaved families.

Emergency department sister and bereavement nurse Karen Evans is lending her expertise and experience to the project for one day a week.

Other teams members are psychologist Liz Brimacombe-Jones and psychology assistant Nina Humphreys and the scheme also has the support of the hospital’s nursing director Nicola Williams and health board chairman Andrew Davies.

“This is about trying to prevent misunderstandings and giving people explanations if they need then,” said Ms Gorman.

“We are fact-finding to see what resources we need to provide a service we can all be proud of,” she said. “We believe this is something Carolyn would be very proud to be associated with.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    The 'invite to ask questions' is the part of this which seems the most important to me.

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