End-of-life Swan scheme launches at RJAH

Release Date: 23/01/2019

End-of-life Swan scheme launches at RJAH

A national initiative to help improve end-of-life care for patients and their families has been adopted by staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH).

The Oswestry-based hospital has formally pledged its support to the implementation of the Swan Scheme – a national initiative, first launched by Salford Royal NHS Trust, which aims to support patients in their final days of life and their families into bereavement and beyond.

The Swan model of care is about providing individualised end-of-life and bereavement care for every patient and their family.

Julie Roberts, Assistant Director of Nursing and Clinical Governance and the Trust’s End-of-Life Care Lead, said she felt “proud” that the Trust has formally adopted the scheme.

She said: “End-of-life care is absolutely crucial, regardless of whether you’re an acute or elective Trust.

“The number of deaths we see every year are low, for example last year we only had nine deaths in total but that doesn’t mean to say end-of-life care isn’t important to us here at RJAH. It’s everyone’s business and we only have one chance to get it right, for every person, every single time.

“I’m proud to say we’ve recently received funding from the Trust and the League of Friends to improve our end-of-life care pathway.

“I know that’s going to not only make a crucial difference to our patients and their families, but it will also help to ensure our staff are supported to deliver great care to patients and their families at the most difficult time.”

To support the Swan Scheme adoption, the Trust will be purchasing Swan boxes, which will be given to the families of dying patients and will contain relative support information leaflets, toiletries for the patient or their loved ones, a small pack of tissues, a small ribbon-tie bag for jewellery or a hair lock, and a bag for any of their belongings.

The Trust will also invest in Swan signage to ensure staff and other patients are aware that a patient and their loved ones are experiencing end-of-life and bereavement care, as well as offering free car parking to the patients’ relatives and a hot drink and cake voucher for the hospital’s Denbigh’s restaurant.

Recently the hospital’s Porters have also undergone end-of-life care training – to help them support patients and their families

Fiona Murphy MBE, Assistant Director of Nursing at the Northern Care Alliance and founder of the Swan model of care, who attended one of the Trust’s recent End-of-Life meetings, said: “It was a privilege to pay a visit to RJAH to hear about their adoption of the Swan Scheme and the determination they have to ensure they get end-of-life care right for their patients and their loved ones.

“Death and dying is very difficult to deal with, even for staff who work in hospitals, but helping patients and their families at their time of greatest need is of huge importance to staff, and I know the Swan Scheme enables staff to do that.”


Photo caption: RJAH staff and Fiona Murphy MBE, Assistant Director of Nursing at the Northern Care Alliance and founder of the Swan model of care (centre) at the Trust’s most recent End-of-Life meeting.

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