Background I felt strongly about improving the services for end of life relatives staying for long periods with their loved ones. I wanted to find out what they felt was missing from our care, and how we could improve their time with us.
Method I conducted a survey of twenty EOL relatives asking about their experience generally and what could be improved. I asked the questions in a safe place, questions around this are obviously of a sensitive nature and I wanted them to feel free to answer openly and honestly.
Relatives want more information about what to expect during the dying process, such as physical signs and symptoms, as well as around what services are available.
No facilities for relatives to make their own drinks and often feel they cannot approach busy staff.
No facilities available for relatives who arrive without any of their own belongings.
I created A relative’s guide for loved ones in the last days of life. This booklet contains information about signs and symptoms they may see in a dying loved one; services available across the hospital; and a summary about what support they offer.
I instated a scheme where EOL relatives are entitled to a meal card activated with credit worth £5 per day so they are able to buy refreshments from the canteen and restaurant. This reactivates at midnight and can be used throughout their stay.
I compiled a relative’s overnight pack-a mini washbag, containing toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes and tissues for when they need to stay unexpectedly.
Conclusion/actionsGood palliative care is essential - for a patient’s loved ones as well as themselves. I would like to continue to make changes and create some positives in what can be otherwise a wholly negative experience.
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