Supporting patients and families

Caring for our carers with special comfort packs

Above image: the palliative care team at King's

Your support has helped provide comfort packs for the palliative care service at King’s and Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), which are given to those staying overnight with family members in their final days of life. 

The packs contain shampoo, shower gel and a dental kit. The simple but appropriate contents can make a big difference to somebody whose main concern is caring for their loved one.

The packs are a welcome addition to the service, which covers both the Denmark Hill and PRUH sites. They are provided to people whose loved one is in the last few days or hours of life, along with a fold-out bed and information about facilities available to them at the hospital.

Caring for carers

People who end up staying overnight often don’t know that they’ll need to and are unprepared. The packs allow them to shower and freshen up, a small comfort during a very distressing time.

‘Carers are important and they need to feel comfortable and looked after,’ says Jennifer Karno, matron in palliative care. ‘They need to feel that they’re not having to ask staff for lots of things, especially when they’re staying overnight’. 

‘Looking after someone can be very exhausting. You don’t get time to look after yourself, so this is a way that people can. The packs are a very small token considering what’s going on, but sometimes it’s those little things that people feel they want, that makes them feel a little bit special and that they’re not troublesome.’

An unexpected comfort

Thanks to donations, around 80 sets of relatives benefitted from the opportunity to use the packs in the last year. Jennifer says that the team have had positive feedback about how useful they are, as well as that ‘it’s not something that they’d have thought about receiving from the hospital.’

‘It’s important to carers to know that they can stay and don’t need to worry about anything,’ says Jennifer. ‘We should be able to support them to do that. That’s why being able to offer these packs is great. There are some things I can’t do much about, but this is a small thing I can do for them.’

Being proud of the service

There are two priority aims to the palliative care service at King’s. One is to provide support to those with serious or life- limiting illness which are often advanced in nature in a patient’s last few years or months of life. When patients experience symptoms from their disease or treatment, the specialist palliative care team advises on managing these symptoms to help provide relief.

The second is around supporting care delivered in the final days or hours of life. This comes in a more educational role, focusing mainly on training and educating ward staff to deliver exceptional care to the patients.

‘I’m very proud of the team and our work around dignity,’ says Jennifer. ‘Being able to offer these packs gives you a good sense of pride in our service, and that we’re making our care as individual as we can for our patients and carers.’

Your donations have helped buy special extras like these for patients and carers at King’s and your ongoing support will ensure we can continue to go above and beyond in this way. Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.