A University Hospitals of Derby and Burton team has won an industry award for helping improve the level of care received by patients who are coming to the end of their lives.

The End of Life Care team’s (EoLCT) ‘Pop up Bedrooms’ scheme aims to transform the environment of a hospital room for a patient who is in final few hours or days of their life.

This can be done by fitting a large screen next to the patient’s bed that can depict a range of different landscapes and scenery, whilst recliner chairs are available to allow family and friends to stay by their loved one’s side through the night.

Pop up Bedrooms also enables the Trust to improve patients’ hospital experience by allowing them to receive a visit from a ‘Pets as Therapy Dog’ and also have music played to them from outside the ward by the Trust’s arts charity Air Arts.

This work was acknowledged at The Academy of Fabulous Stuff Awards, with the project winning the Four Candles Award.

Jane Moreland, End of Life Care Facilitator, expressed her delight after winning the award, saying: “It’s been fantastic to have been noticed in this way. End of Life Care perhaps doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so it’s nice for the work we do to get some recognition. It is a privilege to care for someone who is dying and be a positive aspect of the family’s bereavement and memories.

“The Academy of Fabulous Stuff was set up around three years ago, and all of the award winners are picked by fellow NHS employees, so it’s great to be noticed by them for the work that we’ve been doing with Pop up Bedrooms.”

Dr Terri Porrett, Director The Academy of Fab Stuff, said that the Four Candles award won by the EoLCT represented projects that have demonstrated that they listen and take action to the needs of their patients and described where the award’s unique name originates from.

She said: “The Two Ronnies first broadcast their ‘Four Candles’ sketch in 1976. It features a shopkeeper, played by Ronnie Corbett, becoming increasingly frustrated by a customer, played by Ronnie Barker, because he continuously misunderstands what he is requesting.

“At Ronnie Barker’s memorial service in Westminster Abbey, the cross was accompanied up the aisle by four candles instead of the usual two. If your project has relied on an ability to listen and respond to feedback from any source, then the Four Candles Award could be yours!”

Jane said that the scheme had “gone down well”, both with patients and their friends and family, and also around the Royal Derby Hospital site with staff members.

She said: “The equipment for the Pop up Bedrooms is always in use and there has definitely been a change in the attitude towards how we treat patients at the end of the life here in the last few years.

“Dying can be a frightening prospect, so we want to create an environment of care and support, bringing hospice-like care into a hospital setting. We want to make these rooms less sterile and clinical and show that we have really thought about how we can make a difference to our patients and make them feel more comfortable. That’s where the name Pop up Bedrooms comes from. It just makes things seem more homely.”

The scheme has been so successful that other Trusts in the region have been in touch about implementing something similar at their hospitals.

Jane said: “The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and the Chesterfield Royal Hospital have been in touch with us to ask for help in setting up something similar, and we are also working with other sites within our Trust to make Pop up Bedrooms available at our sites in Burton and at London Road Community Hospital.”