The Lundy Ward team at North Devon District Hospital have been crowned the overall winners of the Enhancing Patient Dignity Award at the prestigious Nursing Times Awards.

The team were honoured for their work to create an adaptable and enhanced side room called The Snug.

The Nursing Times Awards are one of the biggest awards in healthcare and celebrate excellence in nursing.

The side room on the ward functions as a day-to-day acute hospital bed, but when a patient with specific needs is admitted, the room can quickly be transformed into The Snug with a few simple changes.

The Snug gives patients and their carers/families a more private, welcoming and dignified space when it is most needed, such as when patients are at the end of life, or when patients with dementia or a learning disability are admitted.

Darryn Allcorn, chief nurse at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I am incredibly proud of the team on Lundy Ward. I know they worked really hard to make The Snug happen and this recognition from the Nursing Times is truly well deserved.

“Most importantly, The Snug has had fantastic feedback from patients since it launched in June. What started as just an idea has grown into something much more, and it couldn’t have happened without the outstanding compassionate care and determination of our nurses.”

The Snug has handcrafted blankets and cushions, sensory lighting, aromatherapy diffuser and de-escalation aids help to create a peaceful environment that is as homely as possible whilst still maintaining full clinical functions.

There is entertainment from talking books, music and a TV/DVD player.

There is a comfortable chair and a put-up bed so that a loved one/carer can stay overnight, and meal vouchers are provided so they can focus their thoughts on spending valuable time with their loved ones.

Staff nurse Jo Murdoch led the project to create The Snug. She said: “The Snug is a place of safety, nurturing, understanding and guidance for patients and their loved ones.

“It’s a patient-led innovation – through listening to feedback from patients and their loved ones, we have developed a home-from-home environment where they can spend valuable time together when they need it most.

“This concept is far more than just a room with a kettle. It is about seeing the person behind the condition, building a deeper understanding of our patients and their loved ones to assist us with delivering their wants, wishes and beliefs.

“We want to share this concept and have a Snug on every ward at NDHT, and ultimately we would love to see every hospital across the country providing their patients with a similar environment and experience.”

Sophie Holker was one of the carers whose feedback helped to create The Snug. Her uncle received a terminal diagnosis quite suddenly and was cared for on Lundy Ward.

The family highly praise the care given by the team and were supportive of the idea to improve the space even further to help families like them.

Sophie said: “My uncle’s diagnosis was really quite sudden, it was emotionally exhausting. The team were exceptional throughout and I felt really supported as a carer. They helped to facilitate what I would describe as a successful and happy end for him.

“When the team asked for ideas to help improve the ward environment for people like us, we felt it was really important to be a part of it. It’s fantastic to be able to do things like make a cup of tea or coffee when you want and not have to bother a member of staff about it. Simple things like that make a real difference.”