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Prestigious award for palliative care work at Shropshire hospitals

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

A prestigious award recognising excellence in the provision of palliative care has been presented to a team from The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

From left, Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Claire Saxby, SaTH; Jules Lock, SaTH; Jules Lewis, SaTH.

Representatives from the trust received the Dundas Medal at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), jointly awarded by the college and PATCH (Palliation and The Caring Hospital). The team was chosen for its innovative and sensitive approach to the ‘nil by mouth’ instruction for patients at the end of life.

Inspired by end of life care volunteer, Jules Lock, the team launched a scheme entitled ‘Taste for Pleasure’, enabling staff to use a patient’s favourite flavours – from blackcurrant and tea to prosecco and whisky – to dab onto their lips, providing moisture.

A multi-disciplinary team including end of life care, dental hygiene specialists and speech and language therapists developed new bedside signage and a standard operating procedure along with training to ensure staff and families feel supported and safe to offer Taste for Pleasure to patients.

The scheme has received positive feedback from families and enquiries from around the globe from healthcare professionals looking to replicate the initiative.

The award was presented by Professor Michael Griffin, President of the RCSEd, to Jules Lock, Jules Lewis and Claire Saxby from SaTH, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Professor Griffin said: “We at the college fully support the aims of PATCH, so it is an honour to award the Dundas Medal each year. I’d like to congratulate the fantastic team from The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. The Taste for Pleasure scheme is remarkable, not only as it’s a wonderful idea which helps to support patients and their families at the most difficult time, but because it represents a truly collaborative approach by several teams, all pulling together to put patients first.”

Jules Lewis, end of life care facilitator/lead nurse at SaTH, said: “We are so proud to receive this award which is for all the patients and families that we have supported, and all the staff at SaTH.

“We would like to thank both PATCH and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh for this recognition of Taste for Pleasure. In end of life care, we only have one chance to get it right and make a difference for our patients and their families at the hardest of times.It was an absolute privilege to attend the ceremony and it is something that Jules, Claire and I will never forget.”

The Dundas Medal, in commemoration of Dr Charles Robert Dundas, is awarded for efforts to improve the provision of palliative care for patients when they are in hospital. Following the death of Dr Dundas in 2014, his widow, Dr Valerie Dundas, made a donation to PATCH to improve the provision of palliative care in hospital.

Kate Forster, director of PATCH, said: “The Shrewsbury and Telford application resonated with me hugely. On a personal level this is something I would have changed if I could for my mum. Watching her eat and drink nothing was awful. The Shrewsbury team showed innovation, humanity and constant care right to the very end – and that is what PATCH is about.”

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