Willows Wins National Award

Yeatman Willows ward wins national award for exemplary, holistic end of life care

The Willows ward, committed to providing care on a par with a hospice to all patients approaching the end of life and their relatives, has been named the first ever Gold Standard Framework Hospital Ward of the Year.

The dedication of the whole team at The Willows ward at Yeatman Community Hospital in Sherborne, to ensure patients and their families have the best possible experience, enhanced by sympathetically designed, state of the art new facilities, won over the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Centre judges.

Julie Armstrong-Wilson, GSF Chief Nurse, said: “All the hospital wards we have reaccredited are providing excellent end of life care. What marks out The Willows at Yeatman Community Hospital is the extraordinary lengths to which they have gone to create the very best possible environment, which really is above and beyond what is to be expected in a community hospital.

“Not only have they really grasped the ethos of GSF, but they have also dedicated significant resources, time and consideration to supporting families as well as their patients. Their holistic approach really is an example to all.”

As well as introducing a raft of changes to their systems and ways of working, Matron Anne Hiscock and her team have also been instrumental in transforming the ward’s physical environment, making it even more conducive to caring for people at the end of their life.

The ward already had one end of life care suite with its own bedroom, en-suite bathroom, kitchen, living area and designated garden. But the competition for this was high. Anne approached the hospital’s League of Friends and secured funding for a second suite with all the same comforts as well as some modern touches like sensory lighting and a music system.

She said: “I do feel very proud. It’s hard work but amazing to get this national seal of approval and recognition for the staff, as without them none of this would have been realised. Having a team who are passionate about their work and with a genuine regard and compassion for patients makes this all possible. I have been blessed with the best team in Dorset.

“I think it’s given us the confidence to do things differently and to sense check against what people would do in a hospice and provided us with a structure. Through GSF we have been able to put those in place and they are now the tools to allow us to do everything else we have implemented here.”

Shirley Richardson, Barbara Ludio, Anne Hiscock all of Yeatman Hospital and Dr Premila Fade of British Geriatrics Society