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P-118 Improving experience for relatives of dying patients in a cancer centre
  1. Martha Knowles,
  2. Richard Berman,
  3. Wendy Makin,
  4. Karen Anthony and
  5. Elizabeth Elliott
  1. The Christie, Manchester, UK


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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