ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The maternity and labour ward at BRI were awarded the 2014 Team of the Year Award earlier this year
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The maternity and labour ward at BRI were awarded the 2014 Team of the Year Award earlier this year

Award commemorates amazing care of dying mother

A Bradford Teaching Hospital’s team whose care and compassion shone through when caring for a terminally ill patient has won the Foundation Trust’s Team of the Year award for 2014.

The group from Bradford Royal Infirmary’s labour ward provides care for women during and after they give birth.

In the past year, the team worked collaboratively with staff from the hospital’s palliative care team to support first-time mother, Nasreen Akhtar, 36, after she discovered she had terminal cancer.

Together the group drew up a care plan for the baby’s birth and as Nasreen’s cancer advanced, arranged for her baby to be born via caesarean section in the labour ward operating theatre at just 28 weeks gestation.

Midwifery matron, Sheila Nolan said: “Unfortunately the initial plan to discharge Nasreen from the maternity unit following the birth of her baby, so she could continue her treatment, never happened because it became clear that she was too ill to continue with her planned treatment.”

A team including the consultant obstetrician, midwifery matron, labour ward co-ordinator, consultant oncologist, consultant neonatologist, neonatal registrar, the MacMillan nurse specialist and midwives, came together to develop a palliative care plan which would see Nasreen nursed on the labour ward with the support of the hospital’s chaplaincy team.

The proximity of the labour ward to the neonatal unit next door ensured that Nasreen could have easy access to her baby at any time of the day or night. The team also set aside a special room where Nasreen’s family and husband, Waseem, could gather for daily prayers.

Nasreen was nursed on the labour ward for more than a month until she passed away.

Mrs Nolan continued: “This joint team effort really enshrined the values of NHS Chief Nurse, Jane Cummings’ six C’s strategy of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Staff even worked extra shifts so Nasreen could have continuity of care with people she was familiar with.

“Our award is dedicated to Nasreen and her family whose courage in the face of adversity shone through and we were only too happy to adapt our nursing and medical practices so that she could spend quality time with her new-born baby.

“Nasreen shall forever remain in our hearts and it was a real privilege to care for her. She has had a profound effect on the team and we will never forget her or her baby.”

The team say they will plough their £5,000 winnings back into their work on the labour ward.

Waseem and Nasreen’s family recently returned to the labour ward to personally thank midwifery, nursing and medical staff for the ‘first-rate care’ they had given Nasreen, which had crossed a number of specialties and the private facilities they had given her in the month before she died.

They also praised the Foundation Trust’s chaplaincy team for supporting Nasreen’s faith which was upheld throughout her time at the BRI and said they were delighted that the team had received this Foundation Trust honour.

The Team of the Year award was presented by Sovereign Health Care’s chief executive Russ Piper, as the organisation’s Charitable Trust supports the annual event.

Mr Piper said: “It goes without saying that while congratulating this year’s Team of the Year we also acknowledge the poignancy behind this year’s award.

“It really does put the saying ‘going the extra mile’ into a whole different league, so I am humbled to present this award to the midwifery and labour ward team.

“The care you have given this patient and her family has been amazing and I commend you for it.

“I’d also like to congratulate all the teams as it is so difficult to decide which team’s work scores higher than others, because all the groups nominated have made such a contribution to the work of the Bradford NHS.”

Second place in the awards, and £3,000 went to the hospital’s Spina Bifida Team of the Bradford Child Development Centre, based at St Luke’s Hospital. In third place, with winnings of £2,000, was the Think Glucose (diabetes) team.