One of my fellow consultants on the Dying to Talk Project is Caroline Loxton, Practice Development Lead from the team of clinical educators at Willen Hospice. Caroline has been involved in the Phase 1 Dying to Talk training for staff, delivering a session entitled: ‘Care in the Last Days and Hours of Life’. This session focused on what impending death looks like for those supporting the person, how the person who is dying may feel, and the best ways we can support the person as well as being supportive to each other as staff teams.

This is difficult - sometimes graphic - content, particularly for staff who don’t provide this type of support regularly, but it is crucial to be able to recognise when a person is in the last phase of their life in order to provide the most appropriate, person-centred, evidence-based support.

The value of learning from an experienced hospice professional

As a Project team, to be able to listen to Caroline’s expertise – Caroline has almost 10 years’ experience as a Palliative Care Nurse working within hospices - has been invaluable. I think we would all agree that we’ve learnt a lot from Caroline’s sessions, and her leadership in our training has been crucial in engaging staff in this topic. Caroline’s sessions have also helped to provide staff with a safe space to discuss aspects of death and dying that many MacIntyre colleagues were quite apprehensive about prior to this training.

Caroline says of her involvement in the training:

“MacIntyre staff were very open and honest with their experiences of caring for those they have looked after at the end of their life, both in a professional and personal capacity. Despite the majority of staff who attended not having the experience of looking after someone within their professional role in the dying phase, staff remained engaged and willing to participate within the interactive sessions on Zoom. The staff attending demonstrated their understanding of their peers and have been supportive of one another; this enabled them to learn from each other as ideas were shared.”

Caroline concludes:

“As a palliative care nurse, listening to Macintyre staff experiences demonstrated the holistic approach to caring for those they support, including advocating for their needs in the dying phase. Providing this person-centred approach suggests that the staff strive to deliver quality of life in the dying phase.”

The future

As a Project team we look forward to continuing to work with Caroline, Willen Hospice, Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield, and other hospices in the pilot areas of the Dying to Talk Project and across wider MacIntyre services.

Would you like to learn more about Dying to Talk? You can contact us using the form below.