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Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust - providing better care for bereaved families

Thu 10th April, 2014
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust - providing better care for bereaved families

The loss of a loved one in hospital is never easy to cope with. A staff team at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust have used the LiA approach to look at ways to improve the Bereavement Service. Their aim was to make what can be a very difficult and distressing time for bereaved relatives a little easier.

The service became one of the first ten LiA Pioneer Teams at the Trust. Working together, within the space of just twelve weeks, they have made some very positive changes which have included;

  • Revamping the relatives area at Hull Royal Infirmary
  • Increasing levels of privacy for the bereaved
  • Creating new bereavement information packs
  • Setting up two new ‘one stop shops’ for bereaved relatives at both hospital sites

Andrea Mellor, the Trust’s Acting Bereavement Service Manager explains:

“Losing a friend or relative can be traumatic so the last thing people need at such a time is to be passed from pillar to post, but up until fairly recently, people had to register their loved one’s death, collect their belongings and collect the death certificate all in different places. If one part of the process fell down, for example if the death certificate was of a poor quality and was refused by the Registrar, this could delay a person’s funeral or cremation and could be really very distressing for their family.

As a Pioneer Team, our aim was to provide a much slicker and more seamless service for relatives, so that they weren’t dealing with any unnecessary hassle at the same time as grieving for their loved ones.

We wanted everyone to feel that their loss was of great importance and understand that as a Trust, we recognised that, by providing the same high level of care for everyone.

In the space of just three months, we’ve changed our ways of working to provide relatives with just one point of contact at both our Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill sites. Each office can then support the families with whatever they need at the time, whether that’s help with registering the death, arranging collection of personal belongings, or even being put in touch with support groups or other sources of advice.”

During the development of their plans, the team has worked with a range of agencies including local end of life care teams and Cruse Bereavement Care, the national bereavement charity.

And the team hasn’t just improved processes, the surroundings in which relatives are able to view their loved ones and receive support from hospital staff have also been significantly improved. Andrea continues:

“Our bereavement centre at Hull Royal Infirmary has been completely refurbished, and now offers a much more appropriate environment for bereaved relatives. We now have viewing facilities which are fully adaptable to meet a specific relative’s needs, in which people can view their loved ones for the last time, plus extra private rooms in which visitors can take time out, discuss issues with staff or even arrange to meet with the doctor, nursing staff or Coroner’s Officer involved in the patient’s care.

Overall, what’s driven us is the desire to see patients’ friends and relatives looked after from start to finish during their contact with us, by dedicated staff who can provide them with the necessary expertise and the right amount of support at a very stressful time.

Whilst we’ve already achieved so much, there’s still more to do, including raising awareness of our range of services amongst staff, developing a range of procedural documents for our clinicians and securing the services of a registrar on both Hull Royal and Castle Hill sites.”


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