Lee Campbell is a sister at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and has been dedicated to providing a place for families in the A&E department dealing with grief and loss – and Friday marked the official opening of the Butterfly Bereavement Suite
She said: ‘It has taken seven years to get here and get permission for this room but it has been all worth it.
‘In the first week of it opening I came in for a shift one morning and a doctor just flung her arms round me and said “I just need to say thank you” and that says it all really.’
Lee’s idea for the suite started on the back of her butterfly project in 2011 which saw pictures of butterflies posted outside doors where people were getting bad news. It was an indicator to passing emergency department staff and paramedics to keep their voices down.
Lee added: ‘‘In the last 10 months we have raised more than £15,000 to be able to have this room and it will mean so much for our patients.
‘It is a home-from-home environment and allows families time to say goodbye to their loved ones.’
Sister Emma Tomkinson said: ‘It is amazing to have this suite and will really make a difference to bereaved families and mean their last memories of their loved ones aren’t so clinical and we can provide support to them away from the busy department.’
Staff across the hospital got involved in fundraising events from cake sales to boogie bounce and taking part in the Great South Run.
Emma added: ‘Everyone got so involved in the fundraising – I organised a spinathon at the Village Gym which raised £500 and we had lots of people do different things. I think it has brought us altogether because we knew how much Lee wanted this suite and so everyone just got stuck in.’
Earlier this year a group of Gosport bikers donated a specially made rocking chair for the suite and Little People’s Nursery, in Portsmouth raised £347 for the campaign through a sponsored walk and a cake sale.
Chief executive at Portsmouth Hospitals Trust Mark Cubbon said: ‘It is difficult to describe how much this means for our staff.
‘In a busy department it is important for families to have somewhere to go and our staff wanted somewhere to provide that proper care and compassion.’