The dandelion symbol of dignity in death

THE dandelion symbol has been launched at Basildon University Hospital to promote dignity in death to staff and visitors.

If you see a dandelion displayed, it means there is someone nearby receiving end of life care and we would ask that you are mindful of noise and be respectful.

At the launch on 23 November, each ward received a pack containing revised end of life documentation and newly designed property bags. Staff were encouraged to visit the mortuary and the newly renamed Dandelion Suite, formerly the viewing room. There was also a drop-in café where staff could discuss their experiences of end of life care over coffee and cake.

Karen Andrews, head of end of life care, said: “We piloted the symbol on Colne and Orsett ward and it made a noticeable difference. Just simple things, like closing the bins gently, can make a difference to patient experience, especially at the end of life.

“We’re really pleased with how the launch went and how many members of staff took the time to visit the mortuary and tell us about their experiences.”

The project is part of the trust’s work as one of ten trusts involved in the national ‘Building on the Best’ programme, to improve end of life care across England and Wales.

The Lily Fund, which accepts donations in memory of a loved one cared for at the hospital, has been renamed the Dandelion Fund.

dandelionThe dandelion was chosen because the yellow flower symbolises the ability to rise above life’s challenges; while blowing the white seeds grants the person a ‘wish’. We associate the wish with the need to know what is important to people at the end of life.

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