19th May 2015 Written by Skills for Health

Image: End of life care.We’ve heard the popular saying “you only live once” and for the social media savvy amongst us, #YOLO.

But what about death? You only die once (#YODO) but it’s not something many of us talk about. A recent project, Working together: improving end of life care through better integration found that people involved in delivering end of life care (EoLC) found it helpful to talk to other workers and people with the experience of using those services, as it helped them understand how they could work together to provide better care and support.

The project brought together a wide range of people from different backgrounds including professionals and people with experience of end of life care. It gave them an opportunity to talk to each other about their own experiences and what mattered to them.

Dip, a person with Motor Neuron Disease and his wife were part of the project and spoke on one of the two films produced. Dip said: “When I was first diagnosed I had to learn a whole new language relevant to my care, and I didn’t know how to access support. It was a challenge to know who to ring, and often the people I contacted didn’t know how to help or where to send me. Sometimes they didn’t ring back at all and I felt helpless.

“Eventually I made contact with a social worker who understood the various systems and could explain the different roles and right people to contact. He listened to what I needed, focused on what could be achieved and made sure I was kept up to date with available information.

“Having the support I need allows me to worry less about my health and make the most of every day, which is very important to me. It’s hard enough living with a condition, but try to imagine how hard it is when the services don’t communicate and fail. It’s important to remember that I’m a person, not a disease.”

Through the experiences of people like Dip and his wife and practitioners the project identified the most important messages for front line workers to help them work in an integrated way when supporting people at the end of their lives.

The project Working Together: improving end of life care through better integration produced a number of resources that are available online here, including:

This project was made possible by Health Education North Central and East London (HENCEL) that was awarded funding to run seven end of life care projects in its area. Skills for Care partnered with Skills for Health and worked in association with the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).

Every year in May, Dying Matters host a range of events around the country with the aim of getting people talking about dying, death and bereavement and making plans for their end of life. This is the sixth annual Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs from 18 - 24 May 2015. Find out how you can support this week of awareness-raising here.

If you would like to find out more about how Skills for Health can help support you and your organisation contact your regional director today to discuss: CONTACT US