Background St Giles Hospice has been delivering hospice care in Walsall since 2011. Data showed that patients from certain groups within the local community have not accessed hospice care.
Our Community Engagement Officer for Walsall was introduced to a group of women, mainly of South Asian origin (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), who met on a weekly basis at a local community hub. The group were curious to know more about the work of the hospice and the role of community engagement. Taster sessions were facilitated which identified that the women had little opportunity to discuss matters around death, dying and bereavement within their own families or communities.
Aim To facilitate monthly sessions where women from different cultural backgrounds could openly discuss matters around death, dying and bereavement and be more informed about hospices and end of life care.
Method In partnership with the group we then undertook monthly sessions incorporating a range of activities including memory jars, Bollywood film clips, emotional first aid kits etc. which were used as ‘tools’ to facilitate conversations - coupled with ‘having fun’ which was a ‘must’ for the women.
Results Deep and insightful conversations took place. Women were able to share personal stories of death, dying and bereavement in a safe and supportive environment, including discussing what ‘good’ end of life care means to them. As an organisation we have also benefited and have developed our insight and understanding, informing our approach to practice.
Conclusion Through adapting our conventional approach these sessions have demonstrated the value of using a conversational community engagement approach when raising awareness of hospices and end of life support. Women who previously hadn’t had the opportunity to express and share their thoughts and feelings about this important subject within their families or communities have been given a voice.
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