Brenda’s Hospital View

I have fond memories of Southmead Hospital as all three of my children were born there. The eldest arrived four weeks early so ended up in special care for several weeks to put on weight before he was allowed home. This included the Christmas period, it was really strange being a Mum but not having a baby at home
with you.

We were not allowed to have any physical contact with him for some time as the rules were much stricter then. It is so much better now with parents actively encouraged to help with the care for their baby, and that must really help with bonding. Luckily my next two arrived on time, so we didn’t have a repeat of the problems!

As the Chair of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee for Bristol City Council I have recently visited Southmead Hospital. I was very impressed with many of the changes they have made recently, and one that stood out was the Purple Butterfly model. This is for when a patient is reaching the end of their life and the staff and relatives all agree that they should receive the best care they can without aggressive medical intervention. A purple butterfly image is then put on the door to their room so that all staff, from consultants to cleaners, know about the situation.

Often very seriously ill patients find difficulty in eating so special measures are now in place to help them if they want something special, but outside of the normal mealtimes. There are lots of other small ways in which the staff work to make the end of life care as peaceful as possible, and I thought this was such a good way to treat patients with respect and dignity .