Congratulations to the three winners of our May competition, who all provided us with a wonderful insight into their provisions for end of life care.
In this very thought-provoking competition, we looked at providing end of life care for residents – how you do it, and how you celebrate the life of a resident who has passed away.
End of life forms a significant part of your role as an activity coordinator, and is perhaps one of the most challenging. There are a lot of things to think about during these significant moments. How to communicate the news to other residents, how to allow meaningful time for people to say goodbye, and how to involve and support relatives. These are all aspects that need to be handled respectfully and smoothly. Do you prepare tributes or celebration of life services in your home? Do you maybe run sessions to involve other residents in celebrating those who have passed?
All of the entries really touched our hearts, but it was the pieces from Rachel Davenport (Wychbury Residential Home), Roberta Cretu (Ivelhurst Nursing Home), and Kay Bullock (Avalon Court Care Home) that really impressed and amazed us.
Rachel Davenport’s entry beautifully reminded us that, for many residents, a care home is their home for life. Rachel explained that at Wychbury Care Home, all staff have training from a local hospice. They have nominated eight end of life champions, who all help with supporting other staff members to be able to look after those who are towards the end of life. “We also ensure that relatives are supported throughout, and given time and opportunity to spend time with loved ones. We have photos, plants, benches and items to celebrate those who we have lost as well,” she says.
At Ivelhurst Nursing Home, Roberta Cretu and her team have a few simple strategies in place that have made all the difference. From a butterfly sticker on the door to notify everyone that it is time to say goodbye, to spiritual training and attending funerals; the entire care team responds as a family when the time comes. “We create flower arrangements made by residents from wreaths donated by families, and have a remembrance book with photos and a board in a quiet area, which enables us to share thoughts about those who have passed away,” explains Roberta.
For Kay Bullock, from Avalon Care Home, a close relationship with a full-time reverend at the care home has helped to provide end of life care that feels sensitive and thoughtful. Working with Revd Andrews, Kay has arranged funeral services and memorials in the care home, which have included a Guard of Honour over the coffin and a one-minute silence lead by Revd Andrews. For funerals outside of the care home, all residents and staff are offered the opportunity to go, and for every resident, a remembrance book and session of memory and reflection is organised. “We all adore our residents and understand they have created strong loving friendships and relatives, and so, our staff are also grieving. We aim to ensure we support everyone and say goodbye to the resident who has sadly past away.”
Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. We have collated all of the entries and shared them on our Ideas pages, as you may want to look at incorporating some of these sensitive and thoughtful ideas yourselves.