Introduction Programmes are developed in hospices to meet the needs of patients and have the potential to be life changing for people in the wider community. This project stemmed from work with patients on using meditation (mindfulness) as a therapeutic tool and extended outwards into the wider community.
Aim Bring together experience and praxis of work with patients, extract life lessons and turn these into life skills for non patients.
Methods Combining the experience of the facilitator (20 years of teaching meditation) and the insights gained from working with patients, a 6 week introductory course was developed for the wider community to buy into. Each session is 1.5 hours in length and there is an upper limit of 10 people per course.
Data is gathered verbally as the course progresses and the course is flexible by design so that changes in emphasis can take place according to group need. Feedback sheets are issued at the end of the 6 week course.
Results The course for non-patients is now into its fourth programme, numbers are growing – 4 on the first course, 10 on the third - and it is generating regular publicity for the hospice. At £99 per person per course for non-patients it is also generating income. More significantly feedback indicates that people are coping better with anxiety, changing attitudes to life situations, volunteering for the hospice and many report continuing to practise after the completion of the course.
Discussion Expected and unexpected are words that relate to this project. Expected reductions in anxiety where met. One of the most surprising things (needing further research) is where participants reported improvements in physical awareness and health as a result of meditation practice.
Conclusion Meditation (mindfulness) offers a model of how certain hospice skills are eminently transferable to different settings enhancing the hospices model of care, community engagement and profile.