A Wrexham nurse has received an award in recognition of how she goes the extra mile in supporting families as they experience bereavement.

Hayley Whitehead Wright, a critical care nurse at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, has received the ‘improving patient experience’ award for her work creating memory boxes for families of patients who have died in critical care.

She was driven by a desire to help families going through the challenges of facing the loss of their loved one after seeing so many families experience bereavements.

Hayley looked at many companies who mass-produce boxes, but in the end decided to design her own and now helps families create a box of final memories to support them in their grieving process.

The boxes contain a candle, a pack of forget me knot seeds, a small bag for a lock of hair and a wallet that contains a hand print.

Families can then add any other items to the box they wish to further personalise it.

Hayley has championed the needs of bereaved relatives and families outside the hospital too and she hopes her memory boxes will be used in other
hospital trusts in England and Wales.

She said the feedback from families who have received a box has been “overwhelmingly positive”, with many families citing the comfort that having a memory box has brought them.

Hayley was “delighted” to be nominated for a staff award following her introduction of the memory boxes into the critical care ward.

She added: “I introduced them a year ago for relatives who are in the process of losing patients to a critical illness.

“I just think it’s so important to provide comfort and support to people and create lifelong memories at such a difficult time in people’s lives.

“My team have been so supportive of my work, I really appreciate it.”

Critical care nurse Anwen Williams, who nominated Hayley, said: “Hayley is such an enthusiastic nurse and she had the drive and determination to develop the memory box scheme because she always has the best interests of the patients and their families at the forefront of her mind.

“The boxes also help us as nursing staff as when we explain the boxes to families, they start to communicate with us about that person.

“It helps us see the person and not just the patient.

“It gives families something that they can develop and personalise in any way they want and helps families start the grieving process and create good memories.

“Hayley has a done a wonderful job with these boxes.

“They are really well received
and she really deserves this award.”