End-of-life Swan memory boxes launched at RJAH to bring comfort and support


Families who lose a loved one at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) are set to receive special memory boxes to bring comfort and help them grieve.

 The Oswestry-based hospital last year 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.

And now the Trust has purchased enough Swan boxes for every single ward in the hospital.

The boxes contain relative support information leaflets, toiletries for the patient or their loved ones, lip balm, a pack of tissues, a small ribbon-tie bag for jewellery or a hair lock, and a bag for any of their belongings. Two knitted keepsake love hearts are also in the boxes – one for the patient and one for a loved one. These were knitted by Jill Pickup and Alison Utting, through the hospital’s League of Friends. The boxes will also contain free car parking vouchers for relatives, as well as hot drink and cake vouchers.

They also contain resources for the staff members providing end-of-life care, including a Swan End-of-Life file, which features an end-of-life care plan, policies and the ‘Bereavement Management in a Time of Crisis’ booklet by Jules Lewis, End-of-Life Care Facilitator at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH); Jules Lock, End-of-Life care volunteer; and Roy Lilley, health writer.

Julie Roberts, Assistant Chief Nurse at RJAH and the Trust’s End-of-Life Lead, said: “It’s a really great step forward that we now have Swan boxes on every ward in the hospital. We hope the boxes bring comfort to patients and their loved ones, as well as help them grieve.

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

“The number of deaths we see each year are low but that doesn’t mean to say end-of-life care isn’t important to us here at RJAH. We only have one chance to get it right, for every person, every single time.”

Julie thanked colleagues at SaTH, including Jules Lewis, for her support in helping RJAH with the implementation of the Swan Scheme.

“My heartfelt thanks to Jules and the team. We couldn’t have got to where we are today without all of the support we’ve had. I’m absolutely passionate about End-of-Life care, and I’m confident that we’re equipped to provide the very best standard of care, that we can,” she added.

Pictured: From left, Alison Harper, Governance Lead for the Clinical Services Unit, who has been supporting the Trust's work relating to End-of-Life care; and Julie Roberts, Assistant Chief Nurse at RJAH and the Trust’s End-of-Life Lead.

  • Published on 20th July 2020