The Trust’s full bereavement service is now in place and offers help, advice and support to families after the death of a loved one.
At both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven a bereavement suite has been opened. The suite offers a space where families can come to collect a medical cause of death certificate or a patient’s personal possessions. It also provides privacy for sensitive conversations with doctors or other staff members, or for those who are having crucial life-giving conversations about organ or tissue donation.
Helen Westwood, bereavement liaison specialist nurse, and Janice Delaney, bereavement officer, are based at the Cumberland Infirmary, and Michelle Towers, bereavement nurse, and Rachel Johnson, bereavement officer, are based at the West Cumberland Hospital. They help patients’ families deal with their loss, as well as giving advice on practical issues such as registering the death and how to arrange a funeral.
Helen, Janice and Rachel are all new to the Trust having previously worked for other organisations and have a wealth of experience in dealing with families and compassionate care. Michelle has worked for the Trust for a number of years and is really settling in to her new role.
Helen said: “The team is really passionate about improving bereavement care and the development of this new service.
“Helping people through one of the most difficult times of their lives is very challenging but also deeply rewarding.
“The team is also available to support staff when they are caring for dying patients and their families.
“The bereavement suites are an invaluable resource, and they offer an alternative to returning to the ward to collect a patient’s property as families can find this difficult.”
Anna Stabler, deputy director of nursing midwifery & allied health professionals, said: It’s fantastic the team are in place and they’ll be the driving force for bereavement care across our Trust.
“Compassion and care are at the heart of everything we do for our patients and their families.”