Hospices have traditionally been seen as ‘the place you go to die.’ Hospice UK suggested in its 2015 guide ‘Hospice enabled dementia care’ that it was time to challenge this perception and share the expertise of hospices for palliative care more widely in the community because of the growing incidence and inequality of dementia care. As a result, an educational specialist/dementia lead role was created in a hospice to ignite the passion about dementia and palliative care. Dementia resources in the local community were reviewed and incorporated into a bespoke training day called ‘Walking alongside dementia’.
Aim The aim was to increase understanding of dementia and its care supported by hospice and community resources for a wide range of healthcare professionals.
Methods Invitations were publicised via the hospice education programme to both primary and secondary healthcare professionals. The day covered:
Types of dementia, diagnostics and current research
Communication, advance care planning, identification and implementation of end-of-life care
Collaboration and coordination with local resources
14 objectives were measured with a pre- and post-confidence questionnaire on a scale of 1(low) to 5(high).
Results In financial year 2016–2017 two sessions were originally planned. However, these quickly became oversubscribed, resulting in the need for six additional sessions. It was clear that a major need and passion had been ignited, as these additional sessions were also oversubscribed. Analysis of the eight sessions showed:
135 participants attended from 18 organisations with 27 different roles;
An overall satisfaction rating for the day of 9.6 out of 10
The average confidence level on the objectives rose from 2.5 to 4.5, with most impact noted on community resources available.
Conclusions Collaboration transcends inequalities in palliative care and reframes the hospice role. As a team our communities have amazing power – as hospices we must strive to unlock this.
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