Two back-to-back anonymous donations to the Aberdeen Health Foundation are having a profound effect on palliative care patients and their families at Aberdeen Hospital. The Palliative Care Support Fund received a donation directed for the purchase of a cuddle bed. These innovative, otherwise normal looking hospital beds enhance compassionate end-of-life care by extending to allow greater space for physical contact between loved ones. Shortly after the first donation, a significant bequest was received that was also earmarked for the Palliative Care Unit (PCU). The generosity and timing of these two donations created an extraordinary opportunity that enabled the foundation to replace all six beds in the PCU with cuddle beds.
“This has been amazing,” remarked Patti MacEwan, Nova Scotia Health, Northern Zone manager of Integrated Palliative Care. “The cuddle beds are a ground-breaking advance in patient-sensitive care. People in palliative care often feel isolated, even when their loved ones are nearby. Traditional hospital beds provide little room for physical contact or connection and cuddle beds offer a natural alternative. Many hospitals and hospices, aware of the huge impact the beds can have are launching fundraising initiatives. Finding funds for a single bed is fortunate, furnishing the entire unit is simply unbelievable.”
The Aberdeen Hospital PCU focuses on providing patients with as much peace of mind and comfort as possible. People approach end of life in different ways and being able to provide options is important. Some patients desire quiet and solitude while others seek connection. For the latter, cuddle beds can make an enormous difference.
The beds provide enough room for family members to lay down beside their loved ones and provide physical touch and comfort from close quarters. When a bed can be shared, the entire space and environment can be transformed. Having children on the beds, enjoying the simple intimacy of cuddling, or spending the night in a loved one’s arms can be a wonderful gift and lasting memory.
“Sometimes everything just comes together perfectly,” says Aberdeen Health Foundation Executive Director, Michelle Ferris. “These donors hoped to make a significant impact in an area that was important to them. Their combined gifts turned the request for one cuddle bed into six beds and substantial change for Aberdeen Hospital’s PCU. The generosity of these anonymous donors will have a remarkable and enduring impact on palliative care patients and their families. We can’t thank them enough.”