End of life care education in care homes needs to be as person-centred for their staff as the people in their care. Too often care home staff feel undervalued, media attention is frequently negative, and staff receive the brunt of this. Public perception that staff can’t do anything else, that they don’t really care about people that live in the care home. As a former nursing home manager, now an End of Life Care Educator for care homes, I can provide real examples of support that is tried and tested with care home staff to challenge public perception.
All end of life care education sessions are accessible to all care home staff. Learning needs addressed included literacy, confidence, the fact that some were failed by the education system in our schools. Photos and real stories helps inclusivity, rather than providing handouts. Often staff can recall exact details. Using person-centred approaches during introductions instantly brands sessions as something different to what staff are used to.
An HCA asked if I was the ‘new death teacher thingy’. I said I also taught people about living. She stated ‘people like her didn’t do sessions’, ‘I’m rubbish at school, at work and no one invites me to these things’. I took this challenge. The visit following my teaching session, I was greeted by the HCA, excited to tell me what she had started to implement, by gut instinct helping staff to identify residents’ end of life care needs. She was visibly very proud and so was her manager.
There is lots of negativity in and around care homes. By encouraging support and belief in each other, I am proud to support all care home staff to feel empowered. Care homes are our backbone in the care of our older adults. Where would we be without them? Join the care home revolution.
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