A new-look side room has officially opened on Lundy Ward at North Devon District Hospital after being redesigned to better support patients and their families facing some of the most emotionally difficult situations. ‘The Snug’ was created to give patients and their carers/families a more private, welcoming and dignified space when it is most needed – such as when patients are at the end of life, or when patients with dementia or a learning disability are admitted.
The team behind the project have been shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards for enhancing patient dignity.
The room has a tea and coffee station, where drinks can be made without calling a member of staff, and there is lots of entertainment from talking books, music and a TV/DVD player.
Handcrafted blankets and cushions, sensory lighting, aromatherapy diffuser and de-escalation aids help to create a peaceful environment that is as homely as possible whilst still maintaining full clinical functions.
There is a comfortable chair and a put-up bed so that a loved one/carer can stay overnight, and meal vouchers are provided so they can focus their thoughts on spending valuable time with their loved ones.
Jo Murdoch, staff nurse on Lundy Ward, led the project to create The Snug. She said: “The idea came seven months ago, when we cared for two patients whose lives were cut short by a terminal cancer diagnosis, both leaving young families. The patients and families told us that the care we gave was outstanding, but we thought – how could we have made these unbearably painful situations just a little more bearable for people like this? What can we do to make a real difference to the lives, and deaths, of our patients?
“We listened to our patients and their loved ones, and reflected on their comments. We discussed these comments with key speciality nurses and the Hospice, and together we came up with the idea for The Snug – a place of Safety, Nurturing, Understanding and Guidance.
“We hope that our patients and their loved ones feel more supported to spend valuable time together when they need it most.”
The Snug was officially opened by former patients and the families of people who have stayed on the ward.
Sophie Holker was one of the carers who opened the side room. Her uncle received a terminal diagnosis quite suddenly and was cared for on Lundy Ward. The family highly praise the care given by the team and were supportive of the idea to improve the space even further to help families like them.
Sophie said: “My uncle’s diagnosis was really quite sudden, it was emotionally exhausting. The team were exceptional throughout and I felt really supported as a carer. They helped to facilitate what I would describe as a successful and happy end for him.
“When the team asked for ideas to help improve the ward environment for people like us, we felt it was really important to be a part of it. It’s fantastic to be able to do things like make a cup of tea or coffee when you want and not have to bother a member of staff about it. Simple things like that make a real difference.”
Gemma Lilley, sister on Lundy Ward, said: “I am so proud of the team for what they have achieved. It has been quite a journey to turn the idea for The Snug into a reality, but their focus on compassionate care, with patients right at the centre of their planning, has meant we now have this fantastic space that will support our patients during very difficult times.
“We’ve already had very positive feedback from patients and their loved ones, and it has been amazing to be shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards. The awards celebrate the best in nursing in the country, and the team absolutely deserve to be recognised.”