Background Dealing with Dying is a difficult but important aspect of palliative and end of life care. In response to feedback from patients’ families, who felt they were not prepared with the realities of people dying and what was expected, a number of educational workshops were developed to address this learning need.
Aims The workshops were focused on ensuring families were aware of what realistic choices were available without ‘unrealistic’ or ‘romanticised’ expectations. These were initially developed for families, however, the workshops have also been adapted and delivered to hospice staff, volunteers and other healthcare professionals who wanted further insight into the dying process. The information we provided was factual and quite hard hitting to help prepare families who are caring for loved ones at the end of life.
Method In total ten workshops were delivered for both families and healthcare professionals and were based on three key themes:
• Realistic choices. This included what services were available, the importance of advance care planning, challenges in care provision and adapting the home to meet the patient’s needs
• Process of dying. This provided information on potential symptoms patients may develop and how these could be managed within the community
• When someone dies at home. This included what to do after someone dies, practical measures including what the process is following death and into the future.
Results In excess of 100 families and healthcare professionals have engaged with these workshops, which have been positively evaluated. As part of this process these workshops have been adapted in response to constructive feedback.
Conclusion These workshops helped facilitate discussion and promote families and healthcare professionals not only to talk more openly about death and dying, but also to increase knowledge and confidence around this sensitive subject.
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