Staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are launching an initiative to thank and respect patients who become organ donors in the hospitals for Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Dying Matters Awareness Week takes place this week from 13th-19th May and focuses on the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement with your family and loved ones. This includes anything from writing a will to recording funeral wishes and sharing wishes around organ donation.
To mark this event, promote the importance of having these conversations, and promote organ donation; nurses on the critical care unit at Royal Preston Hospital are introducing handmade, creative and unique blankets which will be placed on patients who are becoming organ donors on the unit as a mark of respect and a big thank you for the important act of kindness that the individual is sharing.
To launch this initiative during Dying Matters Awareness Week, the team have been “yarn bombing” areas within the hospital as a way of launching these blankets and promoting organ donation too.
This idea came about when Emma Edmonds, Critical Care Nurse, was with a patient who was about to become an organ donor and wanted to create a way to signify how important that patient was and the vitally important thing that they were about to do.
Emma Edmonds, Critical Care Nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “This idea came about when I was allocated a patient that had been accepted to go for donation. Their family had said their goodbyes and left and the patient was then on their own whilst we were awaiting a theatre slot. As a unit we already recognised dying patients by placing a purple butterfly at the bedside. However I couldn’t help but feel that the patient deserved so much more.”
Emma decided to introduce a blanket to lay on the patient to enable the team to pay their respects to the patients and the families that agree to donation. Emma and the team decided that a blanket large enough to cover the torso with a set logo would be perfect to signify this fantastic act of kindness. The logo decided on was a tree of life symbol; indicating the lifesaving act of the individual.
The team are also introducing knitting boxes in the visitor’s waiting room so that families and loved ones can make use of the wool, needles and patterns to get involved in creating these blankets whilst visiting. One of the nurses on the unit will also be holding knitting lessons to get everyone on the unit involved.