THE HOSPITAL has refurbished an area where relatives collect death certificates to make the experience more pleasant.

Patient Services has been renamed the Butterfly Suite, a symbol already used for end of life care. Butterflies and flowers have been used to decorate the walls and new furniture has been bought for the suite.

“We wanted it to be somewhere calm,” said Suzanne Lomax, clinical services lead for end of life and palliative care.

“Some families find it very stressful coming back to the hospital after their loved one has died, so we also wanted the department to have a quite separate look and feel.”

Relatives who go to the department are asked if they have any issues they want to discuss and can be referred to a specialist bereavement nurse who is based there.

They can be signposted to specialist external support services. The hospital also offers bereaved families a memory box and key rings with a thumb print or lock of hair.

The hospital is also making an effort to support staff who cared for a patient who died, recognising that staff need emotional support at times too.

Bereavement Cafes are being offered to families every month at the hospital, led by bereavement nurse Laura Prescott, where people can exchange experiences and support each other.

There are also cafes for staff.

Ms Lomax said: "The death of a patient can be very distressing and upsetting for the staff who have been caring for them. And of course we’re all human ­— staff may need support as well if a relative, friend or colleague has died."