Background The Lancet Commission on the Value of Death (Sallnow, Smith, Ahmedzai, et al. Lancet. 2022; 399(10327):837–84) recognises that to a great extent, support for bereaved people in the UK has been taken over by institutions. It is now recognised that bereavement support is everybody’s business (UK Commission on Bereavement, 2022) and needs to be approached from a community and relational perspective, involving many players. As a hospice, a range of teams were involved in bereavement support, without fully understanding or valuing their colleagues’ roles. Some had changed their working practices, in process and philosophy, without sharing this and assumptions were made about other teams, raising unrealistic expectations.
Aim To transform the way these teams worked together to support bereaved people, breaking down barriers and protectionism of roles.
Methods A series of workshops explored values and the extent to which teams understood each other’s roles. This included a ‘sculpt’ (Andersen & Larsen. Nurse Educ Pract. 2015, 15(6):556–560) where participants identified where they operated in relation to the other teams. This powerfully and physically demonstrated where each team member should ideally operate.
Results Through a facilitated process with full commitment, there is now a real understanding of roles and strengths and a realisation that we share the same values. The teams are aware of each other’s ‘lanes’ and the potential to support people seamlessly by working and communicating well. There is a better understanding of Asset Based Community Development (Russell & McKnight. The connected community: discovering the health, wealth, and power of neighborhoods. 2022.) and all teams adopt an enabling approach. Individuals used their own initiative to build bridges and understanding with colleagues. The teams continue to meet collectively, valuing the regular opportunity to understand the complexity and challenges of each role. Together they create imaginative and practical solutions, transforming the support now offered to bereaved people in our communities.
Conclusions Creating time and space for people to explore their values, commonalities and differences is time well-spent when developing new ways of working.
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