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P-46 The hospice through the ‘eyes of children’ – changing a community’s attitude to death, dying and end of life care
  1. Becky McGregor
  1. Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Newport, UK

Abstract

Introduction As part of Hospice Care Week 2014 a short film was launched showing the hospice ‘through the eyes of children’. The film was collaboration between the hospice and a local primary school, showcasing a five-week ‘School’s Project’.

Aims of the project

  • Developing connexions between local schools and the hospice

  • Inviting open and honest dialogue between the generations about palliative care, illness and end of life

  • Challenge and address some of the local communities misconceptions about hospices and reduce myths and fears surrounding end of life

Approach used In the summer 2013, we began an inspirational new venture with schools in our local community. This pilot programme involved five projects with three local primary schools during 2013–2014.

Pupils visited the hospice in small groups for a series of afternoons, taking part in a themed creative project working alongside patients. The pupils also spent time with staff and volunteers learning about the work in the hospice. Activities included demonstrations of airwave mattresses and syringe drivers; fitting of stoma bags; a tour of the hospice and, hoisting their teacher!

At the end of each programme, families of the children and the wider school community were invited into the hospice to see and celebrate the work that patients and pupils had created together.

The professionally produced short film captures the essence of one of the projects during the pilot phase.

Results The five pilot projects have been fully evaluated with excellent feedback gained from pupils, parents/carers, patients and school staff.

Feedback has included:

“I found the experience very uplifting!” (Patient’s wife)

“It was one of the best things I have ever done and I felt the children got so much from it” (Head teacher)

Conclusion A School’s Project builds strong connexions between the hospice and local community and has the potential to change a generation’s view of hospices, death and dying.

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