Background and Aims In line with the End of Life Care Strategy (DOH 2007), the Acorn Project at Oakhaven Hospice promotes a healthier understanding of issues around death and dying, particularly among young people. The school activity weeks offer the community an opportunity to learn more about the hospice through the eyes of children and allow patients and carers a space to talk about their experiences. Implementation Macmillan Cancer Support championed the appointment of a Schools Project Coordinator in April 2011, with the expectation that part of the role would be to roll the project out to other hospices. Each school learns about Macmillan Cancer Support and the Dying Matters coalition. They consider how and what they might do to support Dying Matters week, within their school and community. They also commit to creating a display which starts at the hospice then travels to the local hospital, a nearby community location and finally back to the school. The project then developed beyond the 4 week model; Health and Social work (PHSE) teachers are supported to focus on death education to meet syllabus requirements for GCSE, AS, A level and Btec students. Lessons initiated with ‘A’ level PHSE students, led to the development of the project, ‘The hospice as a service provider’. Besides college based lessons, students visit the hospice to meet clients and receive teaching from members of the multidisciplinary team. Patients report how much participating gives them a sense of worth and purpose, so often lost for those at the end of life. Building on this work a placement scheme was developed which involves a 2 year placement where students gain experientially from working as part of the Acorn team. The Acorn Project is changing attitudes within our community.
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