To mark the start of Dying Matters Week, The Palliative and End of Life Care Team wrapped around the grounds of Royal Cornwall Hospital with a big butterfly bunting hug, all to increase awareness of The Butterfly Cornwall Scheme, an initiative which aims to enhance end of life care across the Trust.
“Everyone that has been involved has helped emphasise just how important it is to get End of Life care right for everyone,” said Steph Brelsford, Butterfly Scheme Project Lead
“We are just completely overwhelmed at the support that we have received. The lines of bunting brought smiles to so many faces of our visitors, patients and staff. We have certainly raised awareness of the Butterfly Cornwall Project and the continuing donations will help to fund many of the additional enhancements that we are putting in place,” she added.
“The ‘Butterfly Cornwall’ project aims to put into place simple tools that aim to ensure that we get our care right at an important time. End of life care is everyone’s business and it is about getting it right for every patient every time, irrespective of their place of death. It is really important to look after our families as well as our patients at this really difficult time. This is what the Butterfly Cornwall Project is about,” said Liz Thomas, Specialist Palliative Care Nurse.
Included within the project are discreet butterfly stickers which are placed on the bed space notice board or side room door as well as yellow dignity pegs for curtains to sensitively inform everyone that the patient is in the last few days of life – helping teams to act with compassion towards the patient and their family at this important time. Recently introduced to the project are ‘Rainbow Days,’
“Rainbow Days will add colour to someone’s day, where appropriate, care teams across the hospitals will be encouraged to ask our end of life patients what would make their day extra special and if the request is within our power then we will make it happen,” Liz Thomas ,Specialist Palliative Care Nurse.
Requests could be as simple as wanting to read a favourite magazine, eat a special meal, having nails painted, a haircut, or perhaps a visit to the beach. The aim of the Rainbow Days initiative will be to make the granting of these wishes accessible to more patients highlighting just one of the elements of the holistic approach to care that is already widespread across the hospitals teams.
Recently there have been stories of ad-hoc gestures by staff, providing a favourite tipple, a bacon sandwich or arranging for a pet to visit.
The crafted butterflies are now available for donations to The Butterfly Cornwall Fund, part of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity. Funds enable the purchase of items and equipment such as guest beds, audio equipment, home comforts, or can even be used to make a ‘Rainbow Day’ possible,
Butterflies are available from the charity pod at Royal Cornwall Hospital and at St Michael’s Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital where local crafters have also been getting on board the campaign.
“We have been astounded by the support from our local community with literally thousands of butterflies being created. The work that teams across the Trust are doing to enhance end of life care is so touching and really deserves to be shouted about. I don’t think many people will realise that this kind of initiative is happening in their local hospitals,” said Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.
The team are also seeking outlets that would be willing to have butterflies and a collection tin. Anyone interested in helping is asked to contact the charity team on 01872 252858 or firstname.lastname@example.org