The last few months at Right at Home Solent have been a rollercoaster. We’ve sadly lost some of our longest standing clients, all fantastic people. Its been a real eye opener for us all. Our CareGivers, and our office staff. We provide End of Life Care for clients, and have been doing so since inception. We often work with the Local NHS Fast Track Team (they are all amazing!) based here in Fareham. Recently, we called in the help of Jill Short from the Rowans Hospice to give us an idea on how we can further help our CareGivers with Dealing with Death. Its great working with local companies who are willing to provide assistance, no strings attached.
The meeting was fantastic. Like many things, its when you speak to a real expert that you get a few nuggets. I wanted to write a post to share those nuggets with you as I was really blown away by the concepts below. On a side note, Jill was fantastic – so knowledgeable and a real pleasure to be around. The real key takeaway from Jill was that like everything in life, Dealing with Death is all about education. I was once taught that the best way to learn, is by presenting or teaching others. So here goes…
Key Concepts to Dealing with Death
Plan. This was a simple one. Plan ahead, and be prepared. This means for us as Employers we should be ensuring that our CareGivers are fully informed about what they can expect. As family members, it shouldn’t be any different. In life, we behave in a much more structured way if we have an idea of what we are going to experience/see. This is why its important to ensure that the relevant professionals are involved very early.
If you family member is receiving End Of Life Care, ensure you speak to the experts around you. This comes down to the very simplest of points, including what you expect to see. Chances are, the professionals have a lot more experience with dealing with death.
Planning also means having your coping mechanisms ready – whatever this may be. Really try and think about what you focus on to cope. Some people paint, some people go on holiday, other people talk. Whatever it is – be ready.
Self Recognition of Value
This one is harder, and takes a little “deeper” thought. In a situation where a loved one (or a client) passes, its important to recognise where you are adding value.
For our CareGivers, its the simple things – like feedback from family members. We always ensure we feed this back.
For family members, its about listening to those around you – remembering the positive things that the family member has said about you. We provide clients End of Life care in their own homes, because this was their wish. A dyeing wish in the truest sense of the word. So many times, we’ve taken on a package and the client may only live for a few days at home. However, we’ve been so proud to be able to do this.
Whatever your beliefs – enabling someone to live out their last few days at home, surrounding by their family whilst still receiving dignified care at home – is truly amazing. This is how you have added value – by ensuring you are doing what they wanted.
Recognise that Death is a normal/natural event
Just knowing, and recognising that Death is a natural event helps us all cope. As Benjamin Franklin famously said “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except for Death and Taxes”.
On a Personal Note
A few days ago, a close family friend of ours passed away. In the Hindu culture, its traditional for there to be 13 days of prayers after this happens. A room full of people, mourning through prayers. I respect all cultures, and respect this. However, the daughters of this family friend wanted a happy occasion. On the basis that “this is what Dad would have wanted”. I always remember this gentleman to be smiling; whatever the occasion – so it seemed fitting. When we visited the family, I could hear so many positive memories being shared. A great experience, and a great thought process. Something that really struck a cord, and aligns with the above.
Rowans Hospice – A fantastic hospice. A fantastic group of people. Every i have interacted with through Rowans have been amazing. The hospice proudly “honour life” and provide a host of support services. Those services are focussed at all parts of the End of Life Journey. For clients, CareGivers and Family members. You can take a “virtual tour” of the hospice here.
Death and Bereavement advice locally. Fareham Borough Council have written some very helpful guidance on how to deal with some practical matters arising from death. Read it here.
Speak to someone. Relate are an organisation who provide counselling and therapy across much of the south coast. Locally, you can speak to someone at West Street Counselling. They are based about a 5 minute walk from our office in Fareham. The Fareham Counselling Centre are also very helpful and can be contacted here.
Lastly, if you or a loved one are need of any form of support. Contact us. We provide all types of care and support. Speak to one of our team on 01329 233755 or email me on [email protected]. Our Deputy Manager Kirsty Emmence is now also “Train the Trainer” in End of Life Palliative Care.
Thank you for reading.