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The resilience programme for staff & volunteers
  1. Rebekah Clitherow
  1. Trinity Hospice, Blackpool, England


This Hospice recognises the benefits of fostering resilience in its workforce so that we become more effective in delivering compassionate care on the journey towards the end of life.

The lead counsellor, responsible for co-ordinating staff and volunteer support and training in self care, took formal and informal opportunities to explore the concept of resilience with staff and volunteers. Ideas about resilience and factors within the organisation that undermine resilience were collated following focus group style sessions. This was combined with a review of the literature concerning resilience.

A model was developed together with a questionnaire and training programme that would enable staff and volunteers to explore and develop their levels of resilience. The model considers the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual aspects of resilience and encourages individuals to explore how their identity, patterns of communication and personal values impact on resilience. The model holds different aspects of resilience in tension such as realism and hope. The training programme includes exercises that support the development of resilient responses to difficult situations. It considers communication and relationships.

4 cohorts of staff and volunteers, totalling 30 individuals, have now accessed the programme and evaluation has shown that they consider themselves better prepared to cope with the nature of their work and better prepared for the change and loss that might lie ahead in their own lives. They reported greater understanding of how they might foster resilience in the patients, carers and families that they work with.

We are keen to present a poster to share good practice in the area of staff support and personal development with other Hospices. Sharing our learning would also provide the opportunity to gain feedback from other Hospices, strengthening the model and programme.

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