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County Hospital ward praised for “wonderful” end of life care

Staff at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) have been praised for their ”wonderful” end of life care.

Margaret Mather, 90, from Coventry, was cared for by the team on Ward 12 at County Hospital in Stafford after being admitted in March 2023.

She spent seven weeks on the ward, describing her time spent on there as “lovely”.

Margaret’s daughter, Hillary Carroll, said: “From the moment she started under the care of the Ward 12, the team were professional, caring and one hundred per-cent focussed mum’s possible recovery.

“The consultants, doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and ward assistants were patient and always available for our questions and concerns. They liaised effectively with specialist colleagues in other departments such as the palliative care team and the speech and language team to ensure that our mum was comfortable and receiving the best possible care. Without exception, we met some of the most caring, considerate, empathetic and kind NHS workers, they were a pleasure to deal with despite the stresses and challenges of working on such a busy ward.”

Margaret’s other daughter, Lesley Rice, added: “We fully appreciate how difficult it has been for medical professionals during the pandemic and with the aging population, however these issues never stood in the way of the wonderful Ward 12 team in terms of their level of care and attention to our mum.

“Following her time in Ward 12, mum was transferred to a care home for assessment where she died peacefully after a full and active life spanning 90 years. One of the memories that we have will be that mum always said when asked about Ward 12 at County Hospital, "I had the most lovely, lovely time", and that says it all.”

The respiratory and palliative care ward, Ward 12 has 28 beds with staff caring for both male and female patients.

Stacey Boyjoo, Medicine Matron for County Hospital said: “Ward 12 face the same challenges as our other medical wards at County but they are additionally pressured as they care for a large cohort of palliative patients. Their knowledge and expertise are demonstrated on a regular basis. The team are now embracing what they have learnt on their ongoing UHNM quality improvement training, and it is wonderful to see them start to use this in practice. I am so proud to be their Matron and long may the focus on quality, compassionate care continue.”

The ward prides itself on the development of its staff, including Preety Tamang, a recently qualified staff nurse, originally from Nepal.

Preety said: “I’ve worked on the ward for three years having been a nurse back home in Nepal. I had to do my conversion exams before becoming a fully registered nurse at UHNM. It’s a busy ward, but we are a brilliant team who work together well.”

Chandra Darku is a second year pharmacy student at Keele University who started work as a nursing assistant on Ward 12 in December 2023

She said: “We are a great team who help each other out. I always enjoy coming into work as well as being a student. Working here helps my development as I interact with the ward staff a lot about medications to build up my knowledge up and support my career pathway.”

It has also received praise for its retention of staff, such as Sarah Matthews, a ward hostess of 16 years.

Sarah said: “My role involves serving meals and hot drinks to the patients and the upkeep of the ward’s kitchen. I love coming here every day and can’t see myself leaving. I love everything about the ward, one day is never the same to the next and I enjoy interacting with the patients.”

Staff nurse Jo Callaghan returned to UHNM and Ward 12 after working for a local hospice.

She said: “I missed the NHS. It provided me with learning and development and the opportunity to use my skills. I’m proud to be part of UHNM, there’s always something new, no matter what pressures we face there’s a team that comes together. Even on the hardest days we laugh, and we have a nice time.”