A group of nurses working for a Teesside Trust have created comfort packages for the bereaved families of COVID-19 patients.
The clinicians, who work for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, have been overwhelmed by the impact the virus has had on the families of those who sadly contract it.
Those who become seriously unwell with the disease and require hospital treatment are unable to have visitors. Of these people, a very small minority will sadly lose their fight with the infection. For these patients, they take great comfort in having a nurse by their side in their final moments.
It is incredibly hard for the loved ones of these patients. Who have the opportunity for virtual visits via i-pads, but are not able to hold hands in the final moments. For the nurses on the Surgical Decision Unit and Ward 30, it was all too much. They decided to come up with a way to comfort bereaved families who have to stay away from the hospital
The team came up with the idea of a small token candle. Staff Nurse Claire Pollock, wrote the following beautiful poem to accompany the candle:
My hand was held
Nice and tight.
By a caring nurse as
I lost my fight.
I wasn’t alone.
The safest place for
You was home.
I know it’s hard for
You to comprehend.
But I know I was loved
Until the end.
Support for bereaved families
They have been able to make over 400 of these so comfort bags so far through some of their own money. They have been distributed to local Funeral Directors to share with grieving families.
Alison Crake, Senior Partner at Crake and Mallon Funeral Service said, ‘Loss and bereavement are difficult for all families but the impact of COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our community, due to the restrictions around the arranging of funerals, with limited numbers of mourners who can attend and the impact of social distancing guidelines. Our hearts go out to all those in our community who are grieving. These care packages are a thoughtful, considerate token that will offer comfort to all involved.’
The Critical Care team at the Trust also have their own supply to share with relatives who need them most. Tom Bingham, Specialist Services Clinical Manager explained ‘This virus is highly infectious so we have had to radically change the way we operate our visiting across the whole hospital, not only on our unit. To be able to give the families a token gesture like the ones Claire and her team have provided is absolutely invaluable. It lets family and friends know that we are thinking of them, as well as offering a link in with their loved ones.’
Staff Nurse, Rachel De Silva finished ‘myself and colleagues have had to work extraordinarily in many ways over the past few months. We have seen amazing levels of care being delivered to every single patient that arrives at our Trust, but we have seen some very sad scenes too. We want family members to feel they are part of the care as much as possible, and this is a genuine, heartfelt way of doing that. I’m so pleased they have been so well received by everyone.’