Background Woodlands Hospice Family Support Team has been working with patients, their families and friends, encouraging them to find comfort and strength by documenting their thoughts and feelings in the form of prose, poetry or letters. Many of these personal reflections have been inspirational. The team has been investigating ways to share these writings in order to offer words of encouragement, inspiration and solace to others.
Aims To provide resources which:
• Provide a calm, quiet, accessible environment which enables reflection.
• Recognises cultural and spiritual diversity.
• Respects individual preference for anonymity.
• Offers an inclusive approach which engages people, including children and young people.
Methods The following resources were made available in the hospice ‘Quiet Room’:
• A ‘Thoughts, feelings and words’ scrap book, with colourful designs encouraging people to write or read.
• A ‘Poetry Pot’ with paper scrolls and examples of poetry to enthuse creativity and self-expression.
• A ‘Message Tree’ with a selection of nature-inspired shapes to write on and either take home or hang on tree branches for others to read.
• ‘One word stones’ to be decorated and taken home or placed in a basket for others to gain support from.
Results Participants from a broad range of ages and backgrounds have taken part in the project and the majority of those have chosen to sign their work. Children and young people have developed the resources, illustrating their writing with art. Feedback indicates the ‘Quiet Room’ is providing a warm, relaxing safe space, which encourages expression and reflection. The project also encouraged communication with people who may not have ordinarily accessed Family Support Services.
Conclusion The ‘What’s in a Message’ project has:
• Provided opportunities for people to inspire, support and comfort each other.
• Enabled people to release their emotions.
• Highlighted just how much we respect and value thoughts and feelings.
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