A MORE ’respectful’ way of returning patients’ belonging to their loved ones after they have passed away has been introduced at Myton Hospice.
The charity has started returning items in a white cardboard box instead of a plastic bag – an idea devised by the family of Susan Wolverson, after she died at the Warwick-based hospice.
Susan was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November 2016 and she dies just 14 weeks later.
Her daughter, Alix Jones said: “The care they gave her at Myton was consistently outstanding in every way. Nothing was too much trouble, either for her or for us as a family.
“She died on March 5 2017 with dad by her side – just as she would have wanted.
“The next day we went back to collect her belongings and start the painful journey of life without her. And this is where the idea for the boxes began.”
Alix is a nurse and has supported many patients with care before they die.
But she says being on the other side of the situation made her realise there was no dignity in a carrier bag for the relatives or staff.
She added: “When mum’s belongings were returned to us in carrier bags, the stark contrast of entering the hospice with her then leaving without her with only a visual representation of who she was in plastic bags was beyond heart-breaking.
“Two years later, on the anniversary of her death, my family and I came up with the idea of replacing the plastic bags with beautiful cardboard boxes. The aims were to make the collection process better for the families that are left behind, to treat the belongings of their loved one with respect and dignity, but to help the staff too – to give them the closure and peace they need through this final act of kindness and professionalism which epitomises their work every day.
“The boxes also go some way to contributing to the reduction of plastic waste and protecting our beautiful planet – something that was important to mum.”
A Myton spokeswoman thanked Alix and her family for the idea.
She added: “Myton hopes families who are picking up the belongings of a loved one will find some solace in receiving these special boxes.”