New Bright Ideas helping Clatterbridge patients

Posted 18th October 2022

Clatterbridge nurse Emma Davey with a TENs machine and handheld fan

Inventive ideas to help Clatterbridge patients have been implemented as part of a staff innovation scheme and include memory boxes for recently bereaved relatives.

Emma Davey, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, came up with the projects and submitted them to the Trust’s Bright Ideas Scheme. A panel backed them and they have now been implemented with funding from Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

The Bright Ideas Scheme has been operating for just over a year and these are the latest initiatives put in place to help patients and staff. Emma’s ideas were handheld fans to keep patients cool, pain relief machines to manage discomfort and memory boxes for loved ones.

Memory boxes with keepsakes have been offered to bereaved families at Clatterbridge for some time but Bright Ideas Scheme funding has enabled them to be developed and expanded across the Trust.

The boxes were developed in response to the pandemic when, due to national restrictions, relatives or significant others of those dying at Clatterbridge had limited or no visiting. The boxes have now been developed, personalising them for families and increasing their content.

Emma, pictured, said: “As a team, we were eager to provide some personal connection for families to the relative in our care, to support them into bereavement. The value in this remains, even as visiting returns to normal gradually as we live alongside COVID.

“The Specialist Palliative Care Team supplies the ward with a box around the time of a patient’s death. There will be times when it may not be appropriate to offer this to a family, and staff use their clinical judgement in this.”

The contents may vary slightly but usually contain:

  • Remembrance seeds
  • A pair of knitted or crocheted hearts – one to accompany the relative and one to stay with the patient
  • A remembrance charm
  • A candle
  • Organza pouch or a jar for a lock of the patient’s hair, which is taken after consent
  • Ink pad and card for a fingerprint
  • A poem

Emma said: “With the bereavement boxes we hope to personalise care for families and offer them some comfort in the immediate period after death, and as a team we are exceptionally grateful for the Trust’s support in taking this project forward.”

Emma’s other ideas were handheld fans for patients and pain-relieving TENS machines. Cancer patients sometimes experience breathlessness or panic attacks and the flow of air from a handheld fan can help to control of these symptoms. TENS machines can lessen some types of nerve pain alongside medication.”

Drew Norwood-Green, Innovation Manager at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: “We are extremely grateful to Emma for bringing forward her bright ideas, which will have a direct impact on our patients and their loved ones.

“The memory boxes can give comfort at a very sad and emotional time for the friends and family of people who die in our care and the Bright Ideas Scheme team and Clatterbridge Cancer Charity are really pleased to be able to support them.”

Above, Emma Davey with a TENS machine and handheld fan.

Below, one of the memory boxes.

One of the memory boxes