IT HAS been seven years in the making and now a senior nurse has seen her dream of having an improved bereavement suite come true.
Lee Campbell, a sister in Queen Alexandra Hospital’s emergency department, has been fighting to have a space for families receiving bad news about their loved ones.
Currently, A&E has a medical room where relatives can be with the person who’s died but the relatives room for them to grieve is across the corridor of the busy and noisy department.
The new space will see the medical room and relatives room next door to each other and kitted out to be more appropriate for the families.
Lee has been given the go-ahead for the suite and is now being joined by others in QA Hospital and the community in raising the £15,000 needed.
In one week, £2,400 has been donated.
Lee said: ‘This is a dream come true and it is overwhelming to know this space is finally being made.
‘It will make such a difference to the families who have lost people.
‘The backing I have got has been amazing and has made me realise it isn’t just me wanting this but that everyone thinks it is needed and a good idea.
‘Everyone does their best in a difficult situation but we are let down by the environment.
‘We cannot change what’s happened, but we can make the environment better.’
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, who is bereavement lead at the hospital, won a Nursing Times Award for the scheme in the year it launched and has been asking the hospital since then for a bereavement suite.
‘Every time I saw an empty room I asked if I could have it,’ she added.
‘But the space was always needed or the funding wasn’t there for it.
‘I am so pleased that we can now go ahead. Everyone has got involved and is supporting the project which needs £15,000 for the furnishings.
‘So much fundraising has been going on from staff here at QA and in the community.’
On Thursday, Lee and her colleagues organised a cake sale in the main entrance of the hospital. Staff baked cakes and other sweet goods to sell along with raffle tickets and tombola prizes.
The event raised £890.
It was attended by youngsters from Little People’s Nursery, in Portsmouth, who raised £347 for the campaign.
They held a sponsored walk, their own cake sale and had nurses and doctors visit for different activities.
Someone else supporting the bereavement suite is Merlin Stuart, from Portchester.
The 43-year-old is abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower on August 19. He is terrified of heights but said he is determined to take on the challenge.
He said: ‘I am really nervous. I cannot bake or run so this was the only other thing that would be a challenge.
‘I set myself a target of £500 but have raised £900 already which is amazing.’
To make a donation towards the Butterfly Suite visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/ButterflySuite