Joining forces to help with grief

TEAMS across Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and Trinity Hospice joined forces during the Coronavirus pandemic to support people bereaved by the death of loved ones.

The teams are now working closely to support those trying to come to terms with losing a loved one during this challenging time when they were not able to visit patients in hospital.

Under the umbrella of the SWAN Suite, counsellors from Trinity and Trust nurses, are offering a bespoke service to help those affected by Coronavirus as well as other people who have lost loved-ones.

The SWAN Suite was opened earlier this year to support anyone affected by grief and help them through the bereavement journey.

Sarah Roberts, Trinity’s Clinical Manager for the Hospital and Community Team said: “Many patients and their loved ones at Blackpool Victoria and Clifton hospitals were so grateful for the nursing and emotional support we were able to provide during the peak of the crisis.

“Even with the saddening, but understandable restrictions that came with COVID, we provided a high level of follow-up bereavement care to ensure relatives were supported by the correct service to manage their grief.”

“Thankfully, our Linden Centre Counselling Service continued to operate with our staff and volunteer counsellors providing telephone and video counselling for the patients and families in our care, but much more is needed as we continue to face an enormous challenge,” Sarah continued.

“We at Trinity will continue to work closely with our Trust partners and recognise that our ongoing support, as part of the new SWAN Team development, will help many more people with their bereavement in the coming months.”

Jackie Brunton, Lead Cancer and End of Life Nurse at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “We were delighted to have support from both Trinity and the Chaplaincy team during this difficult period and I am pleased to say that support will continue as the SWAN Suite has been confirmed as a permanent resource.”

Rev Ian Baxter, the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Department’s Lead Chaplain, agrees. “My department works very closely with bereaved families. We’re very conscious that the rules around visiting and funerals have meant some people haven’t been able to say what they consider to be a proper ‘goodbye’.  It is really important they feel able to reach out and also ask for help from their faith and community groups.

“During the past few months, many teams across the organisation, charities, and funeral directors have worked closely together and all played a vital role working alongside the hospital teams caring for both COVID19 and non-Covid patients and their families around end of life care.”

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