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#ThisIsMe initiative in memory of grandmother enhances patient care

Kylie McKenna with a photograph of her grandmother, Maureen Shortt

A resuscitation specialist working for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) was inspired to create a special initiative for patients when her much-loved grandmother passed away.

Kylie McKenna, a Resuscitation Practice Educator from Barrow, has introduced an initiative called #ThisIsMe to help bring a personal touch to patient care within UHMBT.

Kylie said: “My nana, Maureen Shortt, inspired me to introduce #ThisIsMe at the Trust. She was a beautiful and glamorous lady who was always very well presented but when she was unexpectedly admitted to hospital she looked so different.

“Our family decided to print a recent picture and placed it above nana’s bed. This enabled us to feel she was part of the conversations around her bedside.”

Kylie’s #ThisIsMe initiative is now up and running in most of the hospital wards and units across UHMBT. Similar schemes have been implemented by other health trusts in the UK.

Patients and Family members who would like more information about how to display a #ThisIsMe photograph just need to ask ward staff.

Kylie said Maureen was passionate about her family and was well known and liked in her home area of Walney Island.

Maureen loved playing bingo, going on holiday with her friends and she taught Kylie how to waltz. In her younger days Maureen had numerous part time jobs fitting in around family and home life, one being at Liverpool Street New Agents on Walney. Maureen was a sociable person who enjoyed working with the public.

With Maureen’s photograph in a frame above her hospital bed, Kylie, family members and staff were all able to cherish such memories and appreciate Maureen as a person.

Kylie said: “We were very close because I lived only streets away from nana when I was younger. We did lots of things together; nana was like a second mum to me. She was really friendly and smiley. Her big passion was her family.”

Kylie started her medical career by training as a dental nurse in 2007 at Bristol Dental Hospital. She then trained to be an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) at Oxford Brooks University and moved back to her home town of Barrow in 2014. She now teaches resuscitation across the Bay at the Trust’s main sites and participates in community resuscitation education initiatives.

At the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Kylie was on placement in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit when she came across an extremely unwell child.

Kylie explained: “I met an extremely sick child who was lying still and quiet in their bed. The next time I saw the child four or five photographs had been placed above their bed. It changed my perspective and enabled me to see the patient as a lively, happy and excited child – very different from who first I sat next to. That had a profound effect on me.

“It wasn’t until I found myself in a similar position with my nana that I remembered that experience. I decided to place a picture above nana’s bed and two things happened. The first thing was that it enabled staff to see the person behind the patient and it made me feel very proud.

“The second thing was that, from a family perspective, it gave us all a talking point. Having the photograph made us feel that nana was involved in our conversations. It also helped family members who hadn’t seen her for a long time. It had a hugely positive and comforting effect on us.”

Sadly, Maureen wasn’t well enough to get out of bed and needed palliative care but Kylie said patients who are recovering can also benefit from #ThisIsMe.

She said: “Having a photograph of yourself, a loved one or something that is important to you above the bed can encourage a person to turn around and get up to look at it. This doesn’t have to be a picture of yourself, it can be a picture of loved ones or something that is important to you.

“It’s also really positive for staff. I’ve had lots of positive comments from my colleagues at the Trust. People have said to me: “I wish #ThisIsMe had been there for my relative”. It allows for a more holistic approach and therapeutic relationship with the patient.

“I think my nana would have been proud of me for bringing a personal touch to patient care. It’s a relief that she is at peace now.”

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