Background End of life can be difficult enough to navigate, and as a team we recognised an opportunity to provide a meaningful activity for our patients and their loved ones. Enabling staff to offer a non-clinical experience for their patients.
Aims Memory making at end of life can create light during an often distressing time, giving opportunities for loved ones to both have a therapeutic experience as well as leave their loved one with a tangible gift to treasure after their death. Giving staff an opportunity to offer patients this activity at end of their life, encouraging special conversations throughout the process.
Methods Training given to Children’s Team, development of leaflets and resources sourced to fit in line with budget to establish casting service. Then training rolled out to multiple teams covering nurses, social workers, family support workers and health care assistants. Training included the importance of good communication to empower staff to feel more confident when supporting a palliative patient and family.
Results Within the first 12 months 22 staff were trained internally and more than one hundred casts have been made for patients and their families within the hospice and community. Staff reported feeling relieved to offer something non-clinical at the end of a patient’s life. Patients thanked us for supporting them to leave a legacy and families thanked us for their gift.
Conclusion When a loved one dies, we often miss everything about that person. Patients were given the opportunity to create beautiful memories with their loved ones, helping them to process the loss and better enable open conversations together. Staff were able to offer a positive experience for their patients and used it as a tool to open conversations resulting in a tangible keepsake that can stay in a family forever. Training continues to be rolled out and the service continues to grow.
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