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P-15  Share and care – supporting carers to care for people with life-limiting illnesses
  1. Catherine Thompson,
  2. Jackie Holmes,
  3. Stephen Oxberry and
  4. Michael Crowther
  1. Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield, UK


Share and Care is an innovative project developed within the hospice setting run in collaboration with a carers charity and the local authority to improve support, knowledge and education for carers of individuals with life- limiting illnesses. The course was designed to deliver specialist support to carers, an area for development identified within the hospice User Forum.

Share and Care provides sessions on a variety of topics including:

  • Helping people to move safely

  • Protecting vulnerable skin and preventing pressure sores

  • Nutritional needs and eating on a budget

  • Fatigue management

  • Developing coping skills.

Having a carer specific group allows the sharing of practical ideas and personal experience, as well as hospice staff being able to promote good practice, providing a forum for carers to engage with hospice services earlier for them and their families.

The three-week course is run every third month; each session lasting 90 minutes, enabling delivery to five cohorts per year. Between 2015 and 2016 the course was delivered to 70 carers.

Feedback gained following sessions suggested that the support and advice delivered was specific to their needs and delivered at the correct time to enhance confidence in their caring role when supporting their loved ones at the end of their lives. The course has been commissioned for a further 12 months by the Local Authority.

We have developed the scope of the Share and Care service to include a more informal drop-in service for carers supported by local carer support agencies known as “Carers’ Retreat”, supporting 85 carers in the last 12 months.

Carers play a vital role in managing issues for patients with life-limiting illnesses and the group provides practical support with this. Additionally it allows earlier access to more traditional hospice services whilst challenging stigma around the role of hospice care.

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