Introduction In 2012 we were approached by a local storyteller. We experimented with a simple programme, offering patients the opportunity to tell their stories on an informal basis and produced a series of summaries of the stories they told. We are now piloting a closed group version of Life Stories offering a 5 – 6 week course of story sharing sessions to day patients and patients in the community. The results observed to date have been overwhelming – we want to share these with you.
Aims The aims of Life Stories are to provide a space for reflection and story telling for patients who are low in mood or anxious.
Methods The weekly 1.5 hour sessions are facilitated by the storyteller and attended by the social worker. Each session is structured using common life experiences, e.g. seasons, senses, celebrations. Using a mix of group, individual and pair work, all participants are invited to explore the theme and its meaning for them before sharing a related life story with a session partner. Next the stories are shared out loud with the whole group giving the facilitator a chance to record them all.
Results The reaction of the patients and their families to this experience is very positive; patients visibly brighten and do not want to leave. They report enhanced feelings of wellbeing, happiness and a generally improved quality of life. A family member reported: “my mother is talking again and painting again – thank you”.
Conclusion Positive feedback from patients, their carers and hospice staff suggest that Life Stories workshops should be made available as part of a patient’s individual care plan and be a regular part of the hospice day services.
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