A team that really cares

Left to right, ward matron Jane Corbey, nurse consultant in cancer and palliative care Mel McEvoy and ward manager Barbara Kreczak
Left to right, ward matron Jane Corbey, nurse consultant in cancer and palliative care Mel McEvoy and ward manager Barbara Kreczak

A HEALTH trust is in the running for a national honour for the compassionate way it gives care at the end of peoples’s lives.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has already earned national praise for its attitude of helping both patients and their families.

It comes after staff created a diary system which allows the families of patients in end of life care to give feedback to help improve the service.

The idea was so impressive, the trust has been nominated in the clinical leadership category of the Patient Safety Awards.

Nurse consultant in cancer and palliative care Mel McEvoy was the brainchild behind the idea to create a diary, which is known as the “family’s voice”.

Families were asked to use the diary to score how the wards manage issues such as pain, nausea, breathing, restlessness and general care.

They were also asked to write down their general thoughts and feelings.

Mel said: “The diary has meant that nurses have been able to use it to monitor and improve the quality of the care we provide.

“This is something that is in the process of being rolled out across several health trusts within the North of England cancer network.”

Mel thanked patients’ families for “taking the time to fill in the diaries”.

He added: “They have helped us to improve the service for the benefit of future patients in need of end of life care.

“It helped improve a whole range of areas including providing the family with a feeling of control and helping them to deal with bereavement, improving teamwork, a marked reduction in complaints and a generally enhanced feeling of job satisfaction from nurses.”

But his praise did not end there.

“I’d also like to thank the staff for all of their hard work making this system work and be such a success,” he added.

He said the nomination was “recognition of the hard work and dedication of the ward managers, nursing staff and all health professionals in the trust”.

The trust will compete in the category with seven other health trusts for the prestigious award, and the winner will be announced in July at a ceremony in London.

Director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sue Smith said: “It is thanks to the hard work of staff and families that we have been able to make such improvements to the service for patients.

“The diaries mean families can give continuous feedback to clinical areas about end of life care and issues can be dealt with immediately.”