Bereavement kits: Helping children and families cope with the loss of a loved one

16 Mar 2017

Meet Neil, a Senior Charge Nurse on the intensive care unit 6A at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Even though the intensive care unit successfully saves lives every day the nature of the ward means a proportion of our patients will die under our care. During these sad situations, staff will do their very best to treat the patients, and their families, with respect, kindness and dignity.

Neil wanted to use his previous experience as a specialist nurse in organ donation to go even further to help bereaved families cope.

He introduced a resource kit including support books aimed specifically at children, and other items which enable families to take keepsakes of their loved one - paper and ink for making a handprint and small silk bags and ribbons to save a lock of hair. 

"Young children find loss of a loved one particularly upsetting and confusing," he says. "Sometimes the little things can make a big difference and it gives something personal and meaningful to families at a difficult time."

Neil was originally willing to use his own money, but his idea quickly received support from the ward's Barts Charity Special Purpose Fund. He adds, "the kits have been well-received by ICU nurses and affected families and there have been requests to roll them out across other wards."

This is just one amazing example of the many ways in which hospital staff go above and beyond for their patients – and of how your donations make a difference to people’s lives.

If you’d like to donate to a ward or service, please visit our Donate page.

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