Introduction The Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership (2015) established a national framework with six ambitions, one of which recognises the importance of engaging local communities including schools. Over the past two years, Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust has established a schools engagement project which involves all local secondary schools. This project demonstrated the value of listening to young people and thus providing an opportunity for them to share their understanding and experiences. The second phase of the project then sought to address gaps in understanding identified through the development of a resource that could be embedded into the personal development curriculum of any school wishing to engage with this important subject.
Methods Initial meetings with senior leaders in partner schools were used for information gathering about what is currently taught in relation to this area and the broader personal development curriculum. An assessment of possible curriculum content and an outline proposal was developed by the Specialist Palliative Care Team in collaboration with one of the link schools. This school also agreed to participate in a delivery pilot of these materials as well as shape the resources to ensure that they were age appropriate and aligned to the broader aims of the personal development curriculum.
Results A curriculum model was developed to include the following topics:
History of dying, cultural aspects and changes in society
Public perception of dying and whether we should talk about it
An overview of palliative care in the UK
Ethical issues at the end of life
Accompanying resource material was developed by the Specialist Palliative Care Team in collaboration with the school.
Conclusions This important work has the potential to increase the understanding of palliative care and end of life issues amongst young people in Gateshead and in schools more widely.
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