Background Holistic hospice care considers the entire person with their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs, involves all members of the multidisciplinary team and requires a person-centred approach (McCormack, McCance. (eds.) Person-centred practice in nursing and health care: theory and practice. 2016; O’Connor, Aranda. (eds.) Palliative care nursing: a guide to practice. 2003). In Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast the catering team plays a vital role in improving quality of life for patients and their families. Yet, the catering team contribution, like other non-clinical teams’ sometimes remains invisible (Jors, Tietgen, Xander, et al. Palliat Med. 2017; 31(1): 63–71).
Aim(s) To support people living with terminal illness to celebrate special occasions in their lives by organising individually designed person-centred events to meet the needs and preferences of the people they support and creating memories into bereavement.
Methods The catering team build close relationships with hospice inpatients as a key part of their holistic care (e.g., getting to know their favourite foods/special dietary requirements etc.). They are supported by the hospice multidisciplinary team to organise celebratory events and create lasting memories of special occasions for both patients and families. An example of such special events is a surprise date night for a patient staying in the hospice, who was missing spending quality time with his wife. Working together with the patient, the team came up with a 3-course meal of their favourite dishes prepared by the head chef, flowers from the hospice garden and all the romance they could ask for.
Results Feedback from special events frequently organised within the hospice, has repeatedly shown the importance of celebrating big life events involving delicious, good quality food. These events create an opportunity for patients and those important to them to come together and regain some sense of normality, while leaving family members with special memories to cherish after their loved one’s death.
Conclusions The role of the catering team is invaluable in providing holistic care and improving quality of life of patients and their families.
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