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New bereavement suite

Hedley and Sarah from the King’s Fund check out our proposals with Liz Summers

Northampton General Hospital is planning to develop a purpose-built bereavement suite, where grieving families can be treated with respect, privacy and dignity at the end of life. The suite will form part of the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and allow the PALS team to provide a more comprehensive bereavement advice and support service in a more appropriate environment.

See the proposals and give us your views…

Come along to the Cyber café (middle of Hospital Street) on Tuesday 14 October, between 10.30am – 2.30pm

Or the boardroom (near Billing Road entrance) on Tuesday 4 November, between 10.30am – 2.30pm

The hospital is one of just 20 to benefit from a grant totalling £1m made by the King’s Fund ‘Enhancing the Healing Environment’ programme. The programme was set up in 2000 with the aim of physically improving the environment for those that are dying and their relatives.

Liz Summers, NGH cancer lead nurse, said: “We are looking to provide a sympathetic setting where families or carers can obtain information, help and support, ensuring that they are equipped to deal with the practicalities that need to be addressed following a death.

“Only one in three of the applications was endorsed by the fund, so we are very pleased that ours was one of those chosen. We are very keen to ensure that the new bereavement office provides an appropriate environment, and that it projects a kind and caring atmosphere. We plan to involve users of our service, as well as our staff, so that we incorporate ideas from as wide a range of people as possible.”

Liz particularly wants to hear from any patients, carers or relatives about their suggestions for how the suite can be made to feel comfortable and welcoming. You can email her at or write to Liz Summers, cancer lead nurse, Robertson Suite, Northampton General Hospital NN1 5BD.

The development of the suite will be led by a small project team. It is their responsibility to ensure the facility enhances the well being of bereaved families and carers and meet the high standards set by the King’s Fund. The hospital will receive a £30,000 capital allocation for the project, which is expected to be complete by September 2009.

The project team meet in one of the rooms that will be converted for use as the new bereavement suite. Left to right: Liz Summers, cancer lead nurse; George Sarmezy, hospital chaplain; Eileen Ingram, head of PALS and patient and public involvement; Vicky Howard, Liverpool Care Pathway coordinator; Rob Moore, senior buildings projects manager.

Posted on Friday 12th September 2008