Introduction Recent changes in the daily running of the inpatient unit have increased bed occupancy from 79%−90%. This is of great benefit to patients and families but had an impact on the daily workload: resulting in no designated person being available to meet the increased number of newly bereaved relatives returning to collect paperwork and belongings after death.
To offer a set appointment for bereaved relatives to collect the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and receive support.
For this appointment to be conducted by a nurse who had been involved in the care of the patient from pre-admission to death.
Approach A new band 4 role was created for a clinical support worker (CSW). The CSW works in partnership with the patients, clinical team and families. This involves meeting the patients, prior admission and being involved in care during admission and conducting set appointments daily for relatives to return to collect the MCCD. At these appointments an opportunity to view the body is offered, advice is given about how to proceed with the funeral arrangements and return equipment. The role offers career progression for assistant nurses, streamlines the daily running of the unit, and ensures bereavement support is given early in the bereavement.
Evaluation A telephone poll of four other hospices in the area established that this is a more comprehensive approach than offered by similar hospices. Relatives’ evaluations of the process are captured by feedback slips: comments have endorsed the value of the time spent with the CSW. This process has potential to positively affect bereavement.
Conclusion The CSW role means that relatives are supported by a nurse who has been involved throughout their hospice experience. This approach could be adopted by other hospices to offer career progression and an experience for relatives.
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