A HOSPITAL Trust which runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals serving Ludlow has scooped a national award which recognises excellence in providing palliative care to people at the end of their lives..

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, has been awarded the Dundas Medal.

The medal was introduced by the Scottish charity PATCH (Palliation and The Caring Hospital) and The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and aims to recognise efforts to improve the provision of end of life care for patients when they are in hospital.

The award recognises the work done by The End of Life Care and Speech and Language Therapy teams at the Trust to change the culture of nil by mouth for end of life patients through the introduction of Taste for Pleasure.

Around 80 per cent of hospital patients will have swallowing difficulties in the last 72 hours of life, so the Trust has implemented an alternative to nil by mouth called Taste for Pleasure.

The idea came from Jules Lock, End of Life Care Lead Volunteer, and aims to improve patient experience and allow loved ones to be involved in their relative’s care.

Taste for Pleasure means that when receiving end of life mouth care (cleaning and hydrating the mouth), hospital staff can use the patient’s favourite flavours to provide moisture. These flavours can be anything from blackcurrant squash and tea to whisky and Prosecco.

“We are so thrilled to receive this award and we would like to thank both PATCH and the Royal College of Surgeons for this recognition of Taste for Pleasure,” said John Lewis, End of Life Facilitator at the Trust.

In end of life care, we only have one chance to make a difference and the language that we use is so important at the hardest of times to provide the kindest care for our patients and their families.”

The Dundas Medal was established in memory of Dr Charles Robert (Bertie) Dundas, a consultant anaesthetist at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen for over 30 years. He died in 2014 from hepatobiliary cancer.

His family provided the legacy for the medal to acknowledge the importance of good palliative care for patients approaching the end of life, particularly in a hospital setting. The Dundas Medal aims to raise the profile of this need and entitlement across the UK.