A new-look family room has opened on Lundy Ward at North Devon District Hospital to better support patients and families facing some of the most difficult times in their lives.

The official opening of The Snug on Lundy Ward at NDDH. Picture: NDHTThe official opening of The Snug on Lundy Ward at NDDH. Picture: NDHT

The Snug was created by a team of staff to give people 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.

The team behind the project have been shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards for enhancing patient dignity.

The room has a tea and coffee station, where drinks can be made without calling a member of staff, and there is lots of entertainment from talking books, music and a TV/DVD player.

Handcrafted blankets and cushions, sensory lighting, aromatherapy diffuser and de-escalation aids help to create a peaceful environment that is as homely as possible.

The Snug on Lundy Ward is there to support patients and families facing challenging and emotional times. Picture: NDHTThe Snug on Lundy Ward is there to support patients and families facing challenging and emotional times. Picture: NDHT

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

Lundy Ward staff nurse Jo Murdoch, who led the project, said: “The idea came seven months ago, when we cared for two patients whose lives were cut short by a terminal cancer diagnosis, both leaving young families.

“The patients and families told us that the care we gave was outstanding, but we thought – how could we have made these unbearably painful situations just a little more bearable for people like this?

“We listened to our patients and their loved ones, and reflected on their comments. We discussed these comments with key speciality nurses and the Hospice, and together we came up with the idea for The Snug – a place of Safety, Nurturing, Understanding and Guidance.”

The Snug on Lundy Ward. Picture: NDHTThe Snug on Lundy Ward. Picture: NDHT

The Snug was officially opened by former patients and the families of people who have stayed on the ward.

Sophie Holker was one of the carers who opened the side room. 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.”