Marking 'Dying Matters Week'

Home Instead sincerely supports the campaign to give everyone the right to #DieInAGoodPlace

As part of our initiative to encourage ‘care conversations’ within families, social groups and communities, we also acknowledge that there is a real need to discuss the hardest topic of all: That being the prospect of death for ourselves or the loss of a loved one.

Dying Matters Week offers us the opportunity to raise this sensitive topic and offer practical advice and a sensitive approach to care.

In recent research conducted by Cardiff University, findings showed that 90 percent of those surveyed agreed that planning for end of life was thoroughly essential but also revealed that just 14 percent of people had actually put plans in place for this point in time. Of course, putting these plans in place, requires conversation and as a population, at present we simply don’t talk about such matters.

The study found that a large majority of people, 70 percent in fact, feel that their preferences around death and dying should be noted and take priority over the wishes of their next of kin or a doctor.

Home Instead are continually conducting research into the aspects of life and care that matter to our clients, this being one of the most important. Research findings show that currently, around 17 percent of UK deaths occur in a care home setting, with 58 percent taking place in hospital. The latter, in some cases, may be entirely appropriate but the research also revealed that almost 70 percent of those surveyed would always choose to die at home, if the option were possible.

Our commitment to providing the very best service to our clients, see us partner with local organisations such as Hospiscare, to share best practice, and provide the very best service to the community. It’s also why we wholeheartedly aimed high in our aim of raising £1000 for this fantastic local charity in 2022, as members of the Hospiscare 40 Club group of companies, marking their 40th Anniversary celebrations.

The Covid-19 pandemic shone a light on this topic and has revealed some heart-breaking stories of loss, like that of Maureen, who tragically lost both of her elderly parents within weeks of one another following their discharge from hospital. In an interview conducted by Dying Matters, Maureen speaks from the heart about how with hindsight, she realises that she and her family were ill informed and unprepared for the realities of the situation that she, and her dear parents, were facing.

Maureen is not alone. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, an additional 1000 people every week have died at home. Maureen bravely shared her story to encourage others to talk about death and to plan for it as best as possible, via the Dying Matters #DieInAGoodPlace campaign. Her message is clear: Don’t be scared to talk.

For our part, at Home Instead Exeter & East Devon, we have always been dedicated to equipping our team members and Care Professionals with the skills and knowledge required to competently and sensitively support a client and their family throughout life, and in the final stages of living.

Our End of Life training is an option that is open to all members of the team via a comprehensive City & Guilds accredited course, delivered by our four qualified team members. On behalf of the Training & Support team, General Manager, Laura Grant, speaks sincerely of the programme, saying “Caring for someone in their final weeks, days and moments of life is honestly a privilege. Whilst every situation is undoubtedly sad, we as care professionals and family members alike, take huge comfort and pride in knowing that the needs and wishes of the loved one concerned were considered, every single step of the way. It’s an opportunity to show kindness, compassion and patience. It’s a gift.”

Our Home Instead End of Life Training is delivered over the course of two days and builds on our already award-winning programme. It enables Care Professionals to learn the additional skills required to manage the practical needs of a client in these circumstances, with complete competence, consideration and empathy.

Laura also notes that the course covers the emotional needs of the client and loved ones, saying “I have been present at the point of passing for our clients. I have, on occasion, just spent hours holding their hand, just being ‘there’ for them. If there are family members present, I can support them too. Our End of Life Training enables a Care Professional to meet their emotional needs also. It prepares us to be a familiar, stable, reliable and compassionate presence, and we know from past experience that this is invaluable to everyone concerned.”

Our ethos at Home Instead Exeter & East Devon has always been, and will remain, to provide care good enough for our own Mum or Dad. It is from this wish that the Exeter & East Devon office was formed, with our Directors, Mark and Vanessa McGlade. Just as our goal is to enable our clients through our outstanding and tailor-made care in life, it remains our goal in the final moments also.

If you would like advice or support regarding End of Life Care, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call our team on 01395 200600 or visit our website for further information. As an officially ‘Outstanding in all areas’ home care provider (as rated by the Care Quality Commission), we are confident that we can support your needs but also your wishes too, which is so important.

Equally, if you would like to be part of a team that truly cares and would love to be a person that makes a real difference, get in touch. We are always open to applications from kind, gentle and considerate people, with a true calling to care. Contact Tracy, our Recruitment Coordinator on 01395 200600, take a look at our Current Vacancies or find us on Facebook and discover why we are different.

If you are grieving and would appreciate support with bereavement, there are a number of excellent organisations that can offer practical advice and emotional support, two of which are shown below.

Cruse Bereavement Care.

The Good Grief Trust.