New permanent end-of-life care team in Blackpool to support grieving families

A temporary end-of-life and bereavement team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will now become permanent after funding was provided by the hospital's trust.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 7:00 am

The Swan End-of-Life and Bereavement Care team are based in the 'Swan Suite', a central space in the Whinney Heys Road hospital.

It's where loved ones and staff can access support and it was funded 12 months ago by Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, the Trust’s NHS Charity.

Blue Skies received the funding through a series of grants from NHS Charities Together, a result of the nation’s fundraising, including the likes of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore who raised over £32million for the NHS.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

From Left: LucyMitchell (Swan EoL & Bereavement Support Worker), Claire Hickson (Swan EoL Bereavement Nurse Specialist), Peter Murphy (Director of Nursing), Steve Fogg (Chairman),Kevin McGee (Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals), Kila Redfearn (Head of Fundraising), Malissa Paterson (Swan EoL and Bereavement Clinical Lead), Jackie Brunton (Lead Nurse EoL and; Bereavement Care Nurse)

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals said that to ensure that all those struggling with loss have the support of experienced clinicians, the trust would continue to 'permanently' fund the team.

Bereavement care nurse, Jackie Brunton, oversaw the refurbishment and established the suite as a respite for those needing support.

She said: "At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to refurbish an area to create a space for our Swan and End of Life Bereavement team to be in the hospital and a

place for loved ones and staff to come for support.

"Blue Skies Hospitals Fund supported by NHS Charities Together enabled our Atlas team to work quickly to refurbish this dedicated area.

"We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support we have had over the year and as we see restrictions lift, bringing hope, it is so important for us to know that the facilities will be available for patients and their loved ones going forward into the future.”

Head of Blue Skies charity, Kila Redfearn, said: “We’re very proud to have provided the funding for the suite and give the newly-formed team somewhere fitting to offer help and guidance to staff and recently bereaved families."

Jackie added: ““It is normal for families and friends to have questions around their loved one’s death. It’s such a huge life-event to take in and process. We are delighted as we reach the first anniversary of this facility that we also have a permanent Swan Team in place.

"The Swan team, led by Malissa Paterson, will ensure care is delivered in accordance with our Swan Model offering dedicated support to patients in the last days of life, and to their families before and after their loved one has died.

“The conditions imposed by COVID-19 have only made things worse. It’s really important for mental health and well-being that those who are struggling feel able to talk to people who care.”

Malissa Paterson, swan end of life and bereavement clinical lead, expressed her thanks for the hard work and dedication of all NHS staff over the last year.

She said: “I want to reach to patients, relatives and loved ones to let them know that as a service, we are always here to offer help, guidance and support where we can.”

If you wish to speak to a member of the Swan team you can contact them on [email protected] or call 01253 952456