Making memories at Newham Hospital

14 Oct 2019

At Newham and St Bartholomew's Hospitals, the palliative care team have been using our funding to create handprint kits.

These kits allow families of patients nearing the end of life to make enduring memories with their loved ones and help them through the most difficult of times.

Our funding was used to buy ten boxes of handprinting kits. Eight are being kept at Newham Hospital, so that any ward with an end of life patient can access a kit. Two are being used at St Bartholomew's oncology department. The kits give patients a choice of three colours - pink, blue and a neutral grey. The inkless wipes can be used multiple times, so that a whole family can take a print of their hands together if they want.

"People don't like to talk about death. However, for those nearing the end of life, it is important to discuss needs and wishes, and to think about how you want to spend your time. Discussing end of life plans can also help families members to start their bereavement process," says Philippa, an End of Life Care Facilitator at Newham and St Bartholomew's Hospitals (pictured right).

The kits are designed to help introduce this topic in a gentle way, by encouraging families to think about ways to build memories with their loved ones.

For some patients requiring palliative care, these kits may help them to reflect on what is important to them. Ticking off bucket list items, getting in touch with old friends, or rediscovering photos that keep their memory alive. For others who are very ill and may not be able to talk or who may no longer be conscious, the handprint kits can be a simple way to make one last memory as a family.

"We couldn't do projects like this without help from the Charity," says Philippa, "NHS funding for end of life care tends to be reserved for the essential items. Charity funding allows us to buy the little things that improve quality of life, and show the thought and care we have for our patients."

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