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Critical care nurse at Wrexham Maelor wins award for memory boxes for grieving families

A critical care nurse at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital has won a prestigious award for her compassion and work with grieving families.

Hayley Whitehead Wright received the ‘Improving Patient Experience’ award for her work creating memory boxes for families of patients who have passed away in critical care.

The boxes, which aim to provide support and comfort to people, were introduced to the ward by Hayley over a year ago. She was inspired to create them after after she saw so many families go through bereavements.

Hayley looked at many companies who mass-produce boxes but in the end decided to design her own and now she helps families create a box of final memories to support them in their grieving process.

The boxes contain a candle, a pack of forget me knot seeds, a small bag for a lock of hair and a wallet that contains a hand print. Families can then add any other items to the box they wish to further personalise it.

Hayley has championed the needs of bereaved relatives and families outside the hospital too and she hopes that her memory boxes will be used in other hospital trusts in England and Wales.

The feedback from families who have received a box has been overwhelmingly positive with many families citing the comfort that having a memory box has brought them.

Commenting on winning the award, Hayley said she was “delighted” to have even been nominated.

“I introduced them a year ago for relatives who are in the process of losing patients to a critical illness,” continued Hayley.

“I just think it’s so important to provide comfort and support to people and create lifelong memories at such a difficult time in people’s lives.

“My team have been so supportive of my work, I really appreciate it.”

Critical Care Nurse, Anwen Williams who nominated Hayley for the award, said: “Hayley is such an enthusiastic nurse and she had the drive and determination to develop the memory box scheme because she always has the best interests of the patients and their families at the forefront of her mind.

“The boxes also help us as nursing staff as when we explain the boxes to families, they start to communicate with us about that person. It helps us see the person and not just the patient.

“It gives families something that they can develop and personalise in any way they want and helps families start the grieving process and create good memories.

“Hayley has a done a wonderful job with these boxes. They are really well received and she really deserves this award.”

The Improving Patient Experience award was sponsored by R L Davies Construction

Delyth Davies, Commercial Manager for R L Davies Construction, added: “We were delighted to sponsor the Improving Patient Experience award, which in many ways represents what our construction projects with the Health Board are all about – improving the experience patients have in health care.

“All three nominees were fantastic examples of NHS staff going above and beyond to care for their patients, and we were delighted to present Hayley with the ward for her fantastic work.”

The awards were sponsored by Centerprise International Business, provider of IT for the healthcare, defence, education, and government sectors.

Centerprise International Chief Executive Jez Nash said: “We were delighted to be the Principal Sponsor of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Achievement Awards 2017.

“We are proud to support the NHS in North Wales, and the evening showcased the very best care provided by doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and volunteers throughout the region.

“It was brilliant to hear examples of NHS staff going above and beyond to care for their patients, and as a resident of North Wales, I am delighted Centerprise International is in a position to make a difference to the Health Board.”

“All of the finalists showed fantastic dedication to improving the way people who access healthcare in North Wales, and Hayley’s tireless efforts made her a worthy winner.”

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