Background The group originated from emerging themes taken from practice. Observations and feedback during individual sessions identified that some patients were experiencing difficulties in undertaking legacy work on their own. It was also noted that patients were being referred too late in their disease trajectory to commence this work. This coupled with the expansion of the service led to the development of the group in order to meet patient demand and need.
Aims The group had three main aims: to facilitate discussions and understanding around death and dying; to ensure that patients had access to ideas and resources regarding leaving a legacy; to provide support from professionals alongside other group members. These aims tie in well with NCPC’s initiative “Dying Matters”.
Approach The group meetings are held over a four week period, facilitated by a counsellor and a family support worker. Various creative mediums and ideas are introduced to the group. These take the form of memory boxes, ideas for storytelling and a range of audio products. Patients are encouraged to tell their life stories in their own way.
Difficulties Some patients wanted to undertake legacy work immediately, whilst others needed time to reflect. This difficulty was overcome as some patients chose to make frequent switches from group to individual activity.
Conclusion The idea of legacy work had never been undertaken before in a group setting. Anecdotal evidence suggests that patients engaged with this concept and commented that they could not have entered into this emotional work on their own. Patients reported that their experience had given them a valuable opportunity to engage in legacy work while being supported by staff and other patients. It was also noted that early intervention had given patients the time to undertake and engage with this work more fully.
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