Background Between 2007 and 2009, 49.3% of deaths in Bradford occurred in hospital. Where patients are identified to be in the last days of life, families and carers should be given the opportunity to have unrestricted visiting access, and may want to spend as much as 24 h a day in the hospital. Facilities should be appropriate to support carers' needs. The end of life care strategy has published guidance supporting the King's Fund recommendations for carer facilities at the end of life.
Aims To determine current practice on five acute wards, of the facilities and services provided for relatives of dying patients. To assess if the facilities offered on purpose-built wards with greater numbers of side-rooms differ from more traditional ‘nightingale-style’ wards.
Conclusion Facilities vary between wards within the trust regarding what accommodation is available for carers, in terms of access to refreshments, rest areas and sleeping facilities. Purpose built wards with more side rooms and designated quiet rooms offer a greater range of facilities such as sleeping facilities, alternative rest areas and use of a bathroom than the nightingale alternatives. Up to 93% of patients have relatives who wish to stay outside visiting hours. 45% of patients have at least one carer staying overnight; with at least 26% of patients have two or more carers wishing to stay. Drinks were offered on the ward in 93% of cases, however concessionary parking permits were only offered in 23% of cases. No carers were offered concessionary use of the dining room. Following the audit, hospital managers have reviewed hospital facilities for carers and are considering ways in which carer experience could be improved. A leaflet is in production for carers of dying patients, outlining facilities available across the trust.
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