4th May 2022

    What is a digital legacy and how can you manage yours?

    We live in a digital world, which offers increasing opportunities to connect with others and share our lives. But what happens to our digital life when we die?

    James Norris, founder of the Digital Legacy Association and MyWishes, explores some of the options available to us.


    Why it’s important to make plans for your digital life and share them

    Technology, the internet and use of connected devices (like mobile phones) has changed many things. It has changed the ways in which we communicate with our friends and family members, it is now changing the ways in which we plan for death and remember our loved ones.

    There are a number of things that we can do in advance to help make sure that assets held within online accounts (often called digital assets) are not lost and do not become inaccessible when you die. Digital assets might include sentimental photos and videos held within social networks and cloud storage devices. Digital assets of a financial value might include shopping points, purchased songs, cryptocurrency and eBooks.

    Making plans for your digital life can help reduce the amount of time, hassle and confusion that might take place after your death. This may be experienced by a loved one trying to locate your accounts and retrieve content, digital assets and information held within them.

    Think

    Think about the social networks, online-only bank accounts, cloud storage accounts and any other online accounts that contain your digital assets. Think about what is important to you within these accounts and whether the assets held might also be important to your loved ones after your death.

    Think about the passwords on your mobile phone, laptop and other devices. Now think about the passwords you use for your online accounts. Do you want someone else to have access to your password-protected devices and online accounts, or would you be comfortable if access is not transferred? If access is not transferred, accounts are likely to remain inactive and the content within them inaccessible. What might the impact be on others if accounts become inactive and the content contained within them becomes inaccessible? What might be a good and safe way for you to grant access to someone else for some or all your devices and online accounts?

    Certain online accounts and social networks now have their own way in which you can pass on different levels of access. Planning might be very different for each social network, online bank account and online account. A number of tutorials to help you make plans for the most commonly used social networks, platforms and devices used in England can be found here.

    Plan

    It is important that you make plans for your online accounts and password-protected devices. Plans can be made in a number of ways. These might include using the free planning platform MyWishes to log and share wishes within a ‘Social Media Will’ (sometimes called a digital will). Another way is to download an Excel template to document your online preferences; this can be downloaded by clicking here. If you have assets of a financial value (stocks, cryptocurrency etc.) you should also include them within your Last Will and Testament.

    Share your wishes

    It is important that you share your wishes, whatever they might be. Some wishes might be expressed through conversation. Conversations about your digital wishes might take place before you start making plans, whilst making plans or afterwards.

    When plans are written down or documented online, it is very important that they are shared with at least one other person. When it comes to sharing wishes about your digital life, you might assign a partner, friend, child or a grandchild to manage the administration of them after your death. This person is sometimes referred to as a ‘digital executor’.

    You might want to print copies of your wishes and keep them in a safe and accessible place within your home.

    What happens next?

    Once you have made plans for your online accounts and shared your wishes, you might experience feelings of accomplishment and happiness. These feelings may occur because your wishes are more likely to be adhered to when others know what they are. By making plans, you might also have a positive influence on your digital legacy. A digital legacy is the digital information that is available about someone following their death. Forward planning can influence your digital legacy in a number of positive ways. These might include ensuring that your favourite photos of you remain accessible, and your favourite stories that accompany one or more photos are told.

    Making plans for your digital life is an altruistic task. Following your death, your loved ones might benefit both emotionally and financially by your forward planning. The confusion of trying to locate your online accounts and digital assets might be reduced after gaining an understanding of what was and was not important to you. Assets of a financial value might also be safeguarded and less likely to be lost or become inaccessible.


    James Norris

    James Norris is the founder of the Digital Legacy Association and MyWishes. James researches and develops end-of-life technologies, apps and websites. He also organises the annual, international Digital Legacy Conference and publishes regular tutorials helping to empower both professionals and the general public.

    James has consulted various governments and non-governmental organisations. He provides thought leadership in areas relating to digital death, bereavement, technology and the internet. He has been featured in publications such as the New Scientist and spoken on various TV programmes including Breakfast on BBC 1.


    There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.

    Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more. 

    2nd May 2022

    An African Way to Die

    Photograph: A Sunset in Africa by Tim Heywood

    George Gumisiriza is a PhD student based at the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS) at the University of Bath. His ongoing research is titled Repatriationscapes: Afrocentric perspectives on death and body repatriation among the African diaspora.

    George has spoken about the importance of home and place in relation to death and grief, particularly within African cultures.

    For Dying Matters Awareness Week (2-6 May 2022), we asked him to share his thoughts on what it means to be in a good place to die.


    Paul’s socks

    Repatriation is the process of returning an asset, an item of symbolic value, or person – voluntarily or forcibly – to its owner or their place of origin or citizenship. As an African who has lived in the UK for 10 years, I draw on my own experience of grief after loss as part of my research.

    In December 2013, my cousin Paul, aged 48, returned to Uganda to die after 20 years in the UK. Paul had AIDS after contracting HIV in the 1990s. He died in April 2014. Paul’s last words to me about his decision were: “This winter is going to be very cold in England. I’ve got you a pair of socks and a scarf to keep you warm. I’m going home to Uganda and will stay there until summer next year.” Paul often said that Africa was his homeland and London was his place of dwelling. Paul knew that his death was close. The pair of socks and scarf symbolize both our grief and consolation. Material objects of memory can be helpful in handling grief after loss.

    Recently, long illnesses and stigmatized diseases such as HIV have prompted people to think about how and where we die. However, what does it mean being in a ‘good place’ to die? How do things hold together in the face of death, and grief after loss?

    African rituals

    Like my cousin Paul, my thoughts about being in a good place to die are connected to my African sense of belonging. When I think on my death bed, I envisage people visiting me. I imagine people crying loudly after my last breath and people gathered in the courtyard for the funeral. Huge log fire at my funeral wake, a condolence book, and a basket for collecting the money. Mourners make contributions in cash, in kind or both because in African death ways bereavement is shared. I imagine the men digging the grave in the banana grove, talking about recent community misdemeanour. Grave digging in most Ugandan cultures is an opportunity for self-reflection and correction. The senior family head chooses the spot for the grave. The other seniors sit around to supervise the process as the younger men dig the grave in turns. Local brew of alcohol and a meal are served at the site. I see the women cooking food – receiving baskets of cooked food from the neighbours – young adults serving all the mourners.

    Finally, I hear the loud cries of women as men carry my corpse to the grave. I hear dried banana leaves as crowds struggle to find their way and space around the grave. As the coffin is lowered, I hear the competing sounds of mild argument – panic, and loud wailing of mourners. Believers may try to restrain people through singing of hymns, but women – widows and bereaved mothers – are often unstoppable. Men do cry loudly too, in some cases. For many Africans, like my cousin Paul, the place and space are important for such rituals and practices.

    Like my cousin Paul, my thoughts about being in a good place to die are connected to my African sense of belonging. When I think on my death bed, I envisage people visiting me. I imagine people crying loudly after my last breath and people gathered in the courtyard for the funeral. Huge log fire at my funeral wake, a condolence book, and a basket for collecting the money. Mourners make contributions in cash, in kind or both because in African death ways bereavement is shared. I imagine the men digging the grave in the banana grove, talking about recent community misdemeanour.

    George Gumisiriza

    My Masters research on death and body repatriation among Gambians in Wales (UK), revealed many similarities between their West African experience and mine, rooted in collective understanding of home as the land of birth. Gambians support their dying folks to return to the Gambia before death. However, this is not always possible, and sometimes corpses are repatriated after death. Gambian Muslims prefer to bury their dead in Muslim-only cemeteries where, as one interviewee told me, all the rituals are fulfilled. Other participants mentioned having prayers over the grave every morning and relatives visiting every day. This combines cultural and religious ways of grief and the meaning of being in a good place to die for the dying and the survivors.

    Returning home

    The idea of dying at home is popular among Africans as a physical place and space to die. ‘Home’ as a place combines the support from relations beyond the immediate family. Home is thought to provide the sense of comfort and security that people enjoy in good times. In moments of weakness, despair, and hopelessness due to terminal illness, home as a familiar place presupposes reassurance to control the situation. While not all people prefer dying at home, in Africa, returning an elderly person home from the hospital means two things: either the person has recovered, or the patient has demanded to return home to die. Whichever the case, home is considered a ‘convenient place’ to offer social support. Sometimes, spiritual leaders and medical professionals visit to offer their services. Migrants with such preference might find ‘home’ as a physical place to die challenging due to lack of social support available in their place of birth, where social connections with them have become thinner.

    The Ranges of Snow-Capped Mt. Rwenzori in Uganda by Tim Heywood

     

    In African cultures, the space in a dying person’s home focuses on the person, the dying process, and the event of death. The dying individual occupies space that is well lit and accessible. Social and cultural norms oblige folks to visit the dying. Despite the absence of death in open conversation, people act quickly when death is imminent. Responding to the dying’s social needs is prioritised to avoid regrets. Some activities outside the physical space consider how death may affect their plans. Banyoro / Batooro people in Western Uganda say, “taraleho – tasibeho” referring to imminent death by “sunrise or sunset.” Low-tone dying pep-talks of prompts and reminders about visiting the dying individual are common.

    Abating the crisis of death

    My native Runyoro / Rutooro language draws similarities between a ‘good death’ and the grave: the saying, “Olifa kurungi ogisanga hamunwa gwekituuro,” means a ‘good death’ is determined at the ‘mouth’ of the grave. The saying refers to both the individual and collective meaning of ‘a convenient place’ to die. Death very often causes chaos among the survivors. Some Africans seek practical ways to minimise the disorganisation that often follows death occurrence. Repositioning the dying to somewhere perceived as a ‘convenient place’ to die is widespread among African diaspora, for example, moving from urban back to rural homes to die is common. The other way is repatriation of the corpse after death for funeral rites and rituals. The difficulty in body repatriation involves cross-border regulations and excessive costs.

    In African cultures, the space in a dying person’s home focuses on the person, the dying process, and the event of death. The dying individual occupies space that is well lit and accessible. Social and cultural norms oblige folks to visit the dying. Despite the absence of death in open conversation, people act quickly when death is imminent. Responding to the dying’s social needs is prioritised to avoid regrets.

    George Gumisiriza

    Repatriating a corpse is much more expensive than repatriating a living person. Yasmin Gunaratnam has fascinating stories about this, including a dying person snatched from their hospice bed by their family to put them on a flight home to die: the hospice had refused the request, as it considered the patient too ill to move. Another example in her book is a family who put a corpse in a wheelchair, and accompanied it on the plane, pretending the body to be living as they could not afford the cost of repatriation after death.

    My cousin Paul was a professional dancer who loved pop-culture that embodies Afro-Western narratives, fashion, elegance, and creativity. Paul’s decision to return home was about his need to retain respect and dignity in the face of death. The Ugandan singer Philly Lutaaya’s song Alone and Frightened, which became “The Aids Anthem” in Uganda, describes the meaning of being in a ‘good place’ to die. The story starts with his personal grief and the need for resilience, emphasizing his longing to belong. In 1989, Philly returned to Uganda from Sweden and died in the care of his family.

    Rivers of fresh water from the Mt. Rwenzori by Tim Heywood

    Other cultures

    Many cultures share some common thoughts about a good death. First, the visibility of the dying individual and the illness. Second, dying as a process, death as an event, and after death as rites or ceremonies. Third, the survivors and the practice within the place and space. In a recent case, the neuroscientist Dr. Nadia Chaudhri, a professor of Psychology at Concordia University Montreal Canada, died from ovarian cancer on October 5, 2021.

    In the final weeks of her life, Nadia daily shared her story online via her Twitter account (@DrNadiaChaudri), from her palliative care ward. Towards the end, Nadia said, “I will feast in my new life and welcome everyone to my forest table” (@DrNadiaChaudhri, 13 September 2021).

    Nadia’s story indicates how she took control of a difficult situation reaching out to the world. She cared about the grief of the survivors after her death through her trust in the place, the space and the people who cared for her. Nadia Chaudhri – a migrant to Canada from Pakistan, she had a good dying not in her Pakistani home, but with her family in Canada, and finally in a Canadian palliative care ward. That for her was a good place.

    In African death ways, repositioning dying individuals protects them from being excluded from cultural funeral rites after death. Both my cousin Paul and the singer Philly reassured themselves of being incorporated among the dead on the ancestral grounds. Paul’s socks kept me connected to other grieving survivors at home after his death. The work of my friend and fellow doctoral candidate Katie Taylor in mending the hole in my socks demonstrates support across cultures, based on shared experiences of death, dying and grief.

    Further reading

    George Gumisiriza

    George Gumisiriza is pursuing a PhD in Social and Policy Sciences, funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the University of Bath. He is based at the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS). His PhD thesis is Repatriationscapes: death and body repatriation among African diaspora in the UK. His work focuses on Afrocentric perspectives on death.

    George has a Master of Research in International Development (distinction), (University of Bath in 2021), a Master of Science in Social and Cultural Theory, (Merit) (University of Bristol, UK 2020) and Bachelor of Education (Honours) from Makerere University, Uganda.

    George moved to the UK in 2011.

    Email: gwg25@bath.ac.uk

    Twitter: @GeorgeGumisiri4


    There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.

    Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more. 

    10th May 2021

    #InAGoodPlace: Preparing for death, dying and bereavement

    What does it mean to be in a good place to die? This is the question we were asked to consider during Dying Matters Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Pilgrims staff share their thoughts, both from a personal perspective and based on their experience working alongside hospice patients who are approaching the end of life.


    Oden, Physiotherapist

    For me, being in a good place to die means being at peace.

    As a society, we’re not encouraged to think about our death even though it is probably going to be one of the most important experiences of our life. People often say, ‘Stop being morbid’ or think it’s bad manners to talk about death, or that by talking about it we will “tempt fate”, but the truth is we were always going to die. Then because we have lived our lives as if it was never going to happen, we are in denial and often completely unprepared – both for our own death and the deaths of those we love. We don’t know how to cope because it’s all done behind closed doors, and as such it can make the unknown a fearful experience.

    We need to talk more about dying so that we can support our hospice patients and their loved ones, and also cope when we eventually experience it for ourselves.

    As a Buddhist nun, I contemplate my own death each day for two reasons; firstly, I will not be surprised if it happens suddenly, and secondly it helps me to appreciate each day. In this way, I hope my mind will be more peaceful and I will therefore be in a good place to die.

    Justine Robinson, Lead Occupational Therapist

    For some people, a good place to die might mean being able to stay in their own home. Occupational Therapists can help hospice patients plan for this by adapting the environment and providing specialist equipment to help them remain at home. They work alongside patients and families to enable them to continue doing the things that matter most to them for as long as possible.

    Having a life limiting illness often leads people to reflect on what they will leave behind. As well as material objects, this could also include memories, precious moments and the things that make you, you. The legacy work we do at Pilgrims is a way of turning some of these thoughts into actions or tangible keepsakes. It not only gives loved ones something precious to hold on to, but can also provide patients with the time and space to reflect; they can find peace and meaning while coming to terms with dying.

    Pilgrims’ Wellbeing team work with patients and families to create legacy projects. This can take many forms, including memory boxes, writing, arts and crafts and recording stories as part of our Blackbird Project. Whatever a patient chooses will become unique to them, carrying the meaning they put into it.

    Martyn Yates, Spiritual Care Lead

    What does it mean to have a ‘good death’? What does it mean to be in a ‘good place’ to die?

    Death and dying is as individual as each one of us. If we don’t acknowledge that we are all going to die at some point and we don’t talk about it, we will probably find it hard to start those important conversations, have a ‘good death’ and be in a ‘good place’ when we die.

    World War I saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands and immediately after that we had the Spanish Flu, which killed some 200,000 in the UK. Then came World War II, when almost every family lost someone. Finally, in the late 60s Hong Kong flu killed some 80,000 in the UK. We stopped talking about ‘death’ and started using phrases like ‘they passed away’ or ‘popped their clogs’. It is as if we have gone into a collective silence about death and have handed it over to ‘the professionals’.

    As Baroness Julia Neuberger has said: “We need to learn to look death in the face again – it is coming for us all.”

    That is why I see things like the Death Cafe movement and Hospice UK’s Let’s talk about dying programme as beneficial. Talking about death and dying doesn’t bring death closer. It’s about planning for life, helping us make the most of the time that we have – it’s about celebrating life.

    We plan for and celebrate every birth, so why not do the same for every death?


    Dying Matters Awareness Week is a chance to come together and open up the conversation around death, dying and bereavement.

    There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.

    Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more. 

    7th May 2021

    Ninety-Nine Days: A story of the Benjamin’s voyage around Britain

    Retired doctor and sailing enthusiast generously donates his book royalties to Pilgrims Hospices. Irving Benjamin’s book Ninety-Nine Days has so far raised over £400 for the end of life charity who cared for his late wife Cate.

    Irving hopes this will be the first of many donations from the book royalties.


    Cate and Irving

    Irving is a retired surgeon, having worked as a Professor of Surgery and head of department at King’s College Hospital from 1990 until he took early retirement in 2006.

    Originally from Scotland, Irving lived in London from 1979, and moved to Deal with his first wife in 1997. Sadly she died suddenly in 2000, and he married Cate in 2006 having already known her as a good family friend.

    Irving said: “I had taken up sailing in the 1990s, Cate and I bought our 33 foot yacht ‘Vega’ together, and enjoyed coastal and cross-channel sailing. We made our first trip around Britain in 2007, helped by a number of friends aboard at various times, but it was in that year that Cate discovered the breast cancer which was to change our lives for a number of years. We interrupted our travels, over wintered Vega in Inverness, and returned to London while Cate underwent treatment. We did some sailing in the Netherlands in 2008 and the following two years, but when Cate was discharged from follow-up in 2012 we decided to complete our around Britain trip including the north coast of Ireland, the Inner Hebrides and Orkney.

    “The whole trip lasted Ninety-nine Days (the title of the book), and I kept a detailed illustrated blog, and later edited the text and illustrations of the log into a book, with Cate’s help and critical assistance. I promised Cate that we would publish it together; I had hoped that would happen during her lifetime, but sadly I was not able to make that deadline.

    “Cate developed recurrent disease in 2016, and underwent further treatment, mostly at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. As her disease progressed she required the support of Pilgrims Hospices; with regular phone calls and personal visits from hospice nurses and from Dr Andrew Thorns.

    She had a beautiful non-religious ceremony performed by a wonderful doula, and is buried in a lovely location in Deal cemetery, in what will eventually be our double grave.

    Irving

    “By June 2020 it was decided that no further active treatment was indicated, and from around that time she was practically bedbound. In accordance with Cate’s wishes we had decided that she would remain at home with me for as long as it was possible, and preferably to die in our own bed. The care we received from Pilgrims community care team was absolutely second to none, and it was helpful that as a retired doctor I was able to manage symptom control alongside the other carers. I was with her all of this time, prepared food for us to share, and read books to her in bed. Luckily, this all happened before the most severe strictures of the lockdown, so she was able to have a few short family visits. She became quite confused in the last two to three weeks, and died quietly in bed in the early hours of 14 September. She had a beautiful non-religious ceremony performed by a wonderful doula, and is buried in a lovely location in Deal cemetery, in what will eventually be our double grave.”

    “We have the most wonderful extended family, Cate has two children living in Deal, with grand-daughters aged six and eight, and two children in Canada, with an eight-year-old grandson. I have two children of my own in the UK, and one in Australia, and between them four grandchildren aged between 13 and 29!  They are generous with their love and support and I’m comforted to have them all.

    “We enjoyed music together and would go to festivals whenever we could, including Glastonbury. We were also regular supporters of Scottish and South African rugby (Cate was born in Durban), and went to all the games at Murrayfield and a few in Paris, Rome and Dublin.

    Irving and Cate at Glastonbury Festival

     

    “Although I didn’t manage to publish our adventures before Cate passed away, it’s now published through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s available both as an e-book, and a paperback. The paperback is a much nicer publication, because the e-book does not do justice to the lavish colour illustrations and the glossy cover, but unfortunately Amazon pass on the high printing costs for the paperback, which puts the price up a lot in order to be able to make enough in royalties to pass on to Pilgrims Hospices. I’ve just received my first royalties, and I am able to pass on the whole sum, which is now just over £400, hopefully as the first instalment of many. I’m keen to have the book sold as widely as possible, in order to boost the donations, so the more publicity it can get the better.

    “After Cate’s death we set up an online tribute page, which has raised over £1,000 for the hospices. In addition, a group of us have been writing together for the last couple of years as Deal Poets Society, and we launched our first anthology, Love, Life, Loss at the end of 2019, with a celebration at The Lighthouse in January last year. Again, all the proceeds from that work have gone to Pilgrims Hospices; we are planning a second volume for the end of this year.”

    Benj (Irving Benjamin)

    Dying Matters Awareness Week is a chance to come together and open up the conversation around death, dying and bereavement.

    Tell your story and join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags #InAGoodPlace and #DMAW21.

    Pilgrims Hospices host community events throughout the year for the general public, aiming to open up the conversation about death and dying; with film screenings, poetry readings and Death Cafes and much more, there’s something for everyone.

    Visit pilgrimshospices.org/timetotalk to find out more.


    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.

    11th May 2018

    Dying Matters Awareness Week: What can you do in your community?

    Each year in May, Dying Matters Awareness Week provides an opportunity to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda.

    In 2018, the week will run from 14 – 20 May; Pilgrims Hospices will be sharing knowledge and experience to get people talking openly about death during the week.

    In 2017, nearly 600 events took place across England, sharing information with over half a million members of the public, and it’s hoped that even more events will take place during this year’s awareness week. The theme for this year is ‘What can you do in your community?’, focusing on how people can encourage supportive conversations about death, dying and bereavement in schools, the workplace, hospices and other community areas.

    With the End in Mind

    As part of this nationwide week, author Kathryn Mannix will join Andrew Thorns, Pilgrims Hospices Medical Director, for a discussion about her book With the End in Mind, a powerful collection of stories taken from her clinical practice working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. The event will take place on Wednesday 16 May at 6:45pm at Grimond Lecture Theatre 3, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NP.

    This event is now fully booked; keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter for post-event coverage.

    Death Cafe

    Pilgrims Hospices will also host a Death Cafe on Thursday 17 May, providing an opportunity for people to come together in a relaxed informal café environment and talk about death and dying. It is not a bereavement or counselling session, rather a space to talk about a subject we often avoid as part of our daily conversations. The event takes place 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Ann Robertson Centre, 55 London Road, Canterbury CT2 8HQ.

    There are just a few spaces left for our Death Cafe, so book now if you’d like to come.

    Talking about death makes it easier to plan for and to deal with it when it happens.

    Mandy Williams

    Mandy Williams, Pilgrims Hospices Head of Education and Training, explained: “Talking about death makes it easier to plan for and to deal with it when it happens. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to join us for a conversation over coffee and cake.

    “Our goal is to create a friendly space where people can ask those questions about end of life care issues and coping with bereavement.”

    Patricia Morley Award

    Wendy Hills, Pilgrims Hospices Director of Nursing and Care Services, will soon be accepting applications for this year’s Patricia Morley Award for Improvements in End of Life Care. The award is open to nurses and allied healthcare professionals who work within Health, Social Care or Pilgrims Hospices in east Kent. This will be the second year that care professionals can submit a project plan or model of care that will improve end of life care.

    The successful applicant will receive £1,000 towards the implementation of the project that will make a difference to patients being cared for in the community.

    “Sharing information, bringing communities together and challenging peoples’ perceptions and concepts regarding living and dying well, is making a difference within our community”, Wendy explained.

    Patricia Morley was the incomparable and inimitable face of nursing at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital for many years. She worked tirelessly to promote best practice in nursing and was a long-standing Trustee of Pilgrims Hospices.

    Last year’s award winner, Jan Hyde, End of Life Care Facilitator for East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), celebrates the roll out of the winning project – Comfort Care Packs – across three hospital sites in east Kent.

    Comfort Care Packs

    Jan told us: “The Comfort Care Packs have been designed to support the essential comfort and dignity of family members staying overnight with loved ones. The pack content is aimed at reducing anxiety in the relative who has no essential items to use but doesn’t want to leave the patient’s bedside. Some toiletries, a toothbrush and toothpaste are just a few of the items that can really make a difference to families at such a sensitive time.

    The Comfort Care Packs have been designed to support the essential comfort and dignity of family members staying overnight with loved ones.

    Jan Hyde

    Last year saw the launch of the Compassion Project, a collaborative project between East Kent Hospital Foundation Trust and Pilgrims Hospices to promote a culture of compassion at end of life within the acute hospital settings at EKHUFT.

    Jan Hyde and colleague showcase the Comfort Care Packs

     

    The partnership between the two east Kent health providers is improving end of life care for patients across east Kent. It continues to support hospital staff on more than 50 east Kent wards and departments, to give dedicated support to patients in the last days of life and work compassionately with their families.

    All hospital staff who come into contact with patients and families at this incredibly difficult time are given training by Pilgrims nurses, and the hospital’s own end of life care experts, in the use of the Compassion symbol and are being encouraged to ensure it becomes part of the normal ward routine and culture when caring. The Compassion symbol is displayed discreetly on hospital wards when a person is in the final stages of life, providing hospital staff with an indicator to proceed with increased sensitivity and ensure visitors to other patients are respectful and courteous towards the patient and family in such a difficult circumstance.

    Annie Hogben, Compassion Project Lead for Pilgrims Hospices, explained: “It’s so important to raise greater awareness of end of life care in hospitals. Pilgrims are working closely with hospital care staff to identify even further opportunities to ensure we provide expert services to patients and families. The collaboration is proving a continued success.”

    We host Time to Talk community events throughout the year for the general public, aiming to open up the conversation about death and dying; with film screenings, poetry readings and Death Cafes and much more, there’s something for everyone.

    To find out more about future Time to Talk events contact the Education team on 01227 812 616 or email education@pilgrimshospices.org.


    If you or your family are experiencing Pilgrims care, find out about the support we can offer through our Wellbeing and Social Programme.

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