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Poster Numbers 281 – 293 – Caregiving before and after death: Poster No: 286
‘For the moment’ – a local initiative
  1. Lesley Calcutt and
  2. Christa Frien
  1. North Devon Hospice, Deer Park, Barnstaple, Ndevon

Abstract

Immediately following a loved one's death is a period of shock, fear, helplessness and confusion which can result in calls to emergency services precipitating inappropriate actions. The ‘for the moment’ innovation evolved from the distressed response of several carers who made 999 calls following a home death. It aims to prevent these unfortunate circumstances, subsequently reducing unnecessary distress. The ‘for the moment’ leaflet is primarily designed to give the family/carer confidence that nothing needs to be done immediately following the death of a loved one at home. It is, when folded, a simple double-sided A5 document with a choice of sympathetic images on the cover. This 4-page leaflet holds sensitively worded advice, alongside information previously completed by family regarding patient wishes, choices and other details. These details may include family members, funeral director, GP and out of hours contact numbers. The over-arching aim is to provide encouragement for the family/carer to take time to say their ‘goodbyes’. Fitted into an acetate pocket and secured with a magnet it is then attached to a fridge door or side panel within the home, becoming easily accessible ‘for the moment’ following a death. The pocket may hold additional information such as the ‘Treatment Escalation Plan’. These important details become commonly accessible and recognised by all health professionals. The ‘for the moment’ initiative, when introduced to patients/families/carers, helps to facilitate those difficult conversations and assist in forward planning; while possibly creating peace of mind for families/carers. Additional benefits are that ‘at the moment’ following death valuable time is taken to ‘grieve’ not to ‘do’. The cost of each'for the moment' is minimal, while the positive benefits to the patient/family/carer experience are considerable. Add to this the savings achieved from reduced calls to emergency services and the long term advantage is endless.

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