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Award for innovation in end of life care at Watford General Hospital

Posted: 3 November 2017
Jodi-Ann Gayle, Communications Officer

An NHS body has commended staff at Watford General Hospital for innovation in delivering end of life care and successfully completing a collaborative improvement programme. The palliative care team led the 150 day NHS Improvement programme with staff on two of our care of the elderly wards.

Picture of team accepting awardBy the close of the project staff had helped develop their own tailored training programme, boosted their confidence and improved the care environment to create a better experience for patients and carers.

Many of the patients on our elderly care wards, Croxley and Sarratt, are frail, have multiple chronic conditions and deteriorate rapidly. Good quality end of life support is essential and both wards have worked hard to ensure that dying patients are treated as individuals.

Emily Purvis, senior sister on Sarratt ward, says: “We are able to offer lots of home comforts as we know our patients and their families feel better with a bit of normality.”

Thanks to generous donations and staff suggestions, patients can now enjoy aromatherapy reeds, beauty products, magazines, puzzles and can listen to music on a CD player. China cups and saucers are used to serve hot drinks, there are table lamps beside beds and a drinks trolley, known as Arthur’s Bar, is stocked with alcohol and mixers for patients and relatives to use.

“We can’t cure the dying but we can take extra care to make that last bit of life comfortable and dignified,” says Emily. Both wards now have side rooms dedicated to patients who are nearing the last moments of their life to ensure dignity and privacy. Sarratt ward has redecorated its relatives’ room which provides valuable space for people to think and relax.

Ward staff led by the palliative care team and junior sisters have developed their own patient-centred training sessions. The training has helped staff to become more knowledgeable about certain kinds of medication and how it is administered. Ward sisters were ‘trained as trainers’ to keep the programme sustainable.

Additionally the use of individualised care plan folders has helped to improve communication and the sharing of information between staff, patients and their loved ones.

The teams on Sarratt and Croxley wards have made this film to show what end of life care looks like at Watford General Hospital. You can view it here: https://vimeo.com/234745942


  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: communications@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our near 6,000 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).