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Shropshire hospital trust adopts national initiative for end-of-life care

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A hospital in Oswestry is set to provide a national end-of-life care initiative to support patients in their final days of life and their families into bereavement.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), located in Oswestry on the Shropshire and North Wales border, has formally pledged its support to the implementation of the Swan Scheme.

“Helping patients and their families at their time of greatest need is of huge importance to staff”

Fiona Murphy

The national initiative, which was first launched by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, focuses on providing individualised end-of-life and bereavement care for patients and their families.

To support the initiative, the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will purchase Swan boxes filled with support information leaflets, toiletries for the patient or loved ones, a pack of tissues, a small ribbon-tie bag for jewellery or a hair lock and a bag for any of their belongings.

As part of the Swan Scheme, the trust will also invest in Swan signage to ensure staff and other patients are aware that a patient and their loved ones are experiencing end-of-life and bereavement care.

In addition, it will offer free car parking for the patients’ relatives as well as a hot drink and cake voucher for the hospital’s Denbigh’s restaurant.

Recently the hospital’s Porters have also undergone end-of-life care training – to help them support patients and their families.

Fiona Murphy, assistant director of nursing at the Northern Care Alliance and founder of the Swan model of care attended one of the trust’s end-of-life meetings.

“It was a privilege to pay a visit to RJAH to hear about their adoption of the Swan Scheme and the determination they have to ensure they get end-of-life care right for their patients and their loved ones,” she said.

“Death and dying is very difficult to deal with, even for staff who work in hospitals, but helping patients and their families at their time of greatest need is of huge importance to staff, and I know the Swan Scheme enables staff to do that.”

“End-of-life care is absolutely crucial, regardless of whether you’re an acute or elective trust”

Julie Roberts

Julie Roberts, assistant director of nursing and clinical governance and the trust’s end-of-life care lead, said she felt “proud” that the trust has formally adopted the scheme.

She said: “End-of-life care is absolutely crucial, regardless of whether you’re an acute or elective trust.”

Ms Roberts noted that although the number of deaths seen at the hospital are low, with only nine deaths last year, it doesn’t mean that end-of-life care isn’t important to staff at RJAH.

“It’s everyone’s business and we only have one chance to get it right, for every person, every single time,” she said.

She also explained how RJAH had recently received funding from the trust and League of Friends to “improve” the hospital’s end-of-life care pathway.

“I know that’s going to not only make a crucial difference to our patients and their families, but it will also help to ensure our staff are supported to deliver great care to patients and their families at the most difficult time,” added Ms Roberts.

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