Memory boxes for patients | St Roccos Hospice
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Memory boxes for patients

23/05/24

Memory boxes for patients

And how they are helping our familes through grief

A memory box is a container that holds special things belonging to a patient.  A family can make a memory box together when they know that their loved one has an incurable condition, or staff can help families make one to remember their loved one after they have died.

St Rocco’s senior nurse, Jayne has been working hard to introduce memory boxes to our patients at the hospice.

‘I saw the beautiful box that one of our volunteers made for our Letters to Loved Ones project and approached him to see if he could make similar ones for the ward to use; luckily and thankfully he agreed!’

Our Letters to Loved Ones is an initiative introduced by our Counselling and Emotional Care team where anyone can write their thoughts, wishes or a special message on wildflower seeded paper and post it in the box.  When the box is emptied, the messages will be planted in a special flowerbed in the hospice gardens where the seeds will grow and flourish.

Finding ways to remember the person who has died, and to take their memory forward, can be a helpful part of the grieving process.  Jayne has introduced the memory box idea to help with this.

A memory box could include photos, some favourite music, letters, or a recorded message. These objects and messages can help remind children or loved ones of happy times spent together and offer them some comfort. It can be a useful way to pass on memories and could be made with any loved one in mind.

Photograph of memory box before and after decoration

‘The boxes we have at the moment are suited to patients who wish to collect their own memories, and they are able to be decorated as they wish.  Some have been given to grandchildren to decorate which I think is absolutely fantastic and a perfect use of them.’

Creating a memory box can be an emotional experience. You may feel sad or overwhelmed at times. But you might also find it satisfying to reflect on your own memories. You may find it helpful to have a relative, friend or someone from St Rocco’s support you through the process.

‘I have had lovely feedback saying how beneficial they have been. We are in the process of developing a smaller box to be used as a trinket box for a patient’s precious items for relatives to keep. The eventual plan is to add a tealight which can be lit on the anniversary of a patient’s death.’

This project was supported through a kind donation from a former patient’s family.  We are extremely grateful to them, to Jayne, to our volunteer who has helped to design and make the boxes and to everyone that has supported this project.

For more information about St Rocco’s Hospice or to enquire about the services we provide, you can visit www.stroccos.org.uk or call 01925 575780.