Every year approximately 800 patients die in St. James’s Hospital. Some patients die after long illnesses, others with only a short time before their death and some die very suddenly. But no matter how patients arrive at this final stage in their lives, staff at St. James’s recognises the profoundness of a person’s last days in life and their death and the impact that has on the people they leave behind.
Hospital staff are aware that they only have one chance to get it right when it comes to providing care for patients at the end of life and their loved ones. To that end the hospital is part of a national network of Hospice Friendly Hospitals with the aim to constantly improve the care around death, dying and bereavement for patients and their loved ones. In practice this means maintaining and improving end of life care standards, investing in the physical environment for patients and their families, continuous staff education and providing bereavement support.
Tribute Fund Examples of the SJH End of Life Care Programme Initiatives are:
- Creating better surroundings for patients and families: creating family rooms & single rooms for patients
- Overnight chairs for relatives/friends to be able to stay & sleep beside their loved one
- Introducing advance care planning for patients wishing to express their preferences for care at end of life
- Bereavement Leaflet ‘When someone close dies- what happens next?’
- Sympathy cards written by staff to bereaved relatives
- Training & education for all staff to become more competent and compassionate when caring for patients who are at the end of their lives and their relatives/friends
- Development of tools to improve communication around end of life
- Implementation of end of life care standards hospital wide
- Renovations in the mortuary to provide a better environment for bereaved relatives
- Asking relatives for bereaved for feedback on their experience of end of life care (Bereaved relatives survey)