Blackpool Teaching Hospitals funds end-of-life care team to support grieving families

Facing the loss of a loved one is a difficult experience. Cumulated with the restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s been extremely distressing for all those who are grieving and for the teams and services supporting them.

To ensure that all those struggling with loss have the support of experienced clinician ns, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has now permanently funded the Swan end-of-life and Bereavement Care Team.

The team is based in the “Swan Suite”, a central space within Blackpool Victoria Hospital where loved ones and staff can access support, which was funded 12 months ago by Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, the Trust’s NHS Charity.

Blue Skies received the funding through a series of grants from NHS Charities Together, a result of the nation’s fundraising, including the likes of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore who raised over £32million for the NHS.

Lead Nurse End of Life & Bereavement Care Nurse, Jackie Brunton, oversaw the refurbishment and established the suite as a respite for those needing support.

“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to refurbish an area to create a space for our Swan & End of Life Bereavement team to be in the hospital and a place for loved ones and staff to come for support.

Blue Skies Hospitals Fund supported by NHS Charities Together enabled our Atlas team to work quickly to refurbish this dedicated area.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support we have had over the year and as we see restrictions lift, bringing hope, it is so important for us to know that the facilities will be available for patients and their loved ones going forward into the future.”

Head of Blue Skies, Kila Redfearn, said: “We’re very proud to have provided the funding for the suite and give the newly-formed team somewhere fitting to offer help and guidance to staff and recently bereaved families.

Jackie added: ““It is normal for families and friends to have questions around their loved one’s death. It’s such a huge life-event to take in and process. We are delighted as we reach the first anniversary of this facility that we also have a permanent Swan Team in place. The Swan team, led by Malissa Paterson, will ensure care is delivered in accordance with our Swan Model offering dedicated support to patients in the last days of life, and to their families before and after their loved one has died.”

“The conditions imposed by COVID-19 have only made things worse. It’s really important for mental health and well-being that those who are struggling feel able to talk to people who care.”

Malissa Paterson, Swan End of Life & Bereavement Clinical Lead, expressed her thanks for the hard work and dedication of all NHS staff over the last year.

She said: “I want to reach to patients, relatives and loved ones to let them know that as a service, we are always here to offer help, guidance and support where we can.”

If you wish to speak to a member of the Swan team you can contact them on or call 01253 952456