Background Care after death, for both the patient and their family is vital to maintain the same dignity and respect, observed whilst the patient was alive (Wilson, Laverty, Mann et al. Care after death. 2022, 4th ed.). This is something hospices do so well, however, there was one aspect where I felt we fell short of this. I and other nurses felt uncomfortable when returning belongings of loved ones to relatives, in a plastic bag. We felt both patients and relatives deserved a more dignified handover of patient property; herein formed the idea of cardboard dignity boxes. Researching online, I found evidence of relatives sharing the same concern, with some describing the return of their relative’s belongings in plastic bags as heart-breaking. Additionally, this concept aligns with the government pledge to tackle avoidable plastic waste by 2042 (GOV.UK, 2021). Worldwide plastic bag use totals 500 billion every year (World Health Organization: Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, 2018).
Aim To introduce a presentation box for patients’ belongings returned to relatives, to maintain dignified care.
Method Online research was conducted to source suitable design, with several options sent out to all care team members to vote upon. All options were flat packed to facilitate ease of storage. The team majority chose a tasteful A4 box design with photo frame attachment and printed ribbon seal; this was sent to fundraising to acquire.
Conclusion We will now be able to continue to deliver respectful patient and family care, from the start of their journey with the hospice, to the end.
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