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Transitional Bridges offers compassionate alternative to plastic belongings bags

Compassion Kits extend comfort to grieving families, ensuring families receive the utmost dignity and support at pivotal moments

SAN DIEGO – Transitional Bridges, a San Diego-based nonprofit focused on inspiring compassion and improving end-of-life care through art, has created Transitional Belongings Bags, a compassionate and eco-friendly alternative to the plastic bags hospitals use to hand over belongings to loved ones after a patient has died.

The concept was first introduced 17 years ago by the Irish Hospice Foundation Hospice Friendly Hospitals Program to promote dignity and sensitivity when returning a loved one's possessions to bereaved family and friends. The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, Australia, replicated the approach, and organizations in more countries have followed suit, including England, Scotland, and Brazil.

Lorene Morris, the founder and president of Transitional Bridges, became inspired to bring the movement to the U.S. after her mother, an artist, died unexpectedly from postoperative complications. When the family was handed their mother's possessions in two large, clear plastic bags, Morris recalls, "I felt like the whole world could see those intimate items. It was just so wrong."

Wanting to make a difference, Morris created Transitional Belongings Bags, a compassionate and affordable alternative for hospitals and inpatient hospice facilities. The bags display her mother's artwork and come with door hangers, sympathy cards, and memory garden seed packets in what Morris calls a Compassion Kit.

The kits offer healthcare professionals tools to seamlessly elevate end-of-life care, ensuring families receive the utmost dignity and support at these critical times.

Sally DeVito, a registered nurse, and Transitional Bridges newest board member said, "As a hospice nurse who is sensitive to the charged emotions surrounding the death of a loved one, I appreciate the facilitation of a compassionate approach to this sensitive exchange between a hospital and grieving loved ones. Having seen an incredible amount of medical waste while working in healthcare for over 30 years, I commend Transitional Bridges' commitment to an environmentally friendly business model."

Transitional Bridges is offering free sample Compassion Kits to hospitals across the country. Eighty-seven hospitals have received the kits so far, and Transitional Bridges is seeking hospitals interested in joining the program.

"The death of a loved one is emotionally difficult and sometimes traumatic, regardless of age, cause, or whether expected," Morris said. "How family members receive the personal belongings of a loved one is the last interaction they experience in that setting, and it is an extension of the patient experience."

Morris said Transitional Bridges wants to create better end-of-life care for families by partnering with hospitals and hospices across the U.S. "There is no better time than now," she said.

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Submitted by Transitional Bridges.


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