Sheffield emergency nurses win top accolade for helping dying patients to return home

Nurses who are helping patients at the end of life that arrive at the emergency department get home for a dignified death were crowned winners of the Emergency Nursing award at a prestigious UK nursing ceremony last night.

The Emergency Department End of Life Team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust received the honour at the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019 at a glittering ceremony at Westminster Park Plaza Hotel on the 3 July 2019.

The awards, which are run by the Royal College of Nursing, are the profession’s top accolade and recognise nurses who deliver exceptional innovation and outstanding, compassionate patient care, day in, day out.

Almost 700 nurses and nursing teams from across the UK entered the awards this year.

Staff at Northern General Hospital’s emergency department wanted to introduce a new pathway which would enable patients nearing the end of life and who arrived at the emergency department to be supported to return to their preferred place of death, which is often their home rather than be admitted to hospital.

With support from nurse director Angela Harris, a 24/7 robust pathway has now been established for all patients who choose to die in their own home. This pathway includes a ‘comfort box’ that contains items such as syringe drivers, incontinence pads and mouth care equipment.

A new room for bereaved families and friends of patients has also been created at the hospital.

Angela Harris, Nurse Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Emergency Medicine Department, said: “End of life care is so important in the emergency department, as often patients come in without a plan, and this can be a frightening experience for patients and families.

“This award is down to the commitment of the whole team, the nurses, doctors in A&E, and our palliative care colleagues and GPs. We’ve only got one chance to get end of care life decisions right, and I am so proud of the team for winning this award and providing both comfort and compassion to relatives and family members in a busy trauma centre.”

RCNi Nurse Awards judge Joanne Bosanquet, Chief Executive of the Foundation of Nursing Studies, added: “I was absolutely thrilled with this innovation at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. It demonstrates a real drive to do the right thing and is totally person-centred.

“Changing culture within the hospital demanded strong and persistent leadership and Angela certainly mustered the troops across the system to make this work and to sustain the change. Care closer to home and a good death are human rights and this team is advocating for this brilliantly.”

The award is supported by RCNi journal Emergency Nurse. RCNi managing director Rachel Armitage said: “The RCNi Nurse Awards are a chance to recognise the achievements of nurses like Angela and her team and showcase nursing excellence.”


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