Apr 17, 2023

Care community receptive and eager to talk about death and dying

Rachael Zielinski. [Source: HammondCare]

The Last Days program, the first of its kind to offer in-person, community-focused information on death and dying in Australia, has ten more workshops planned in the coming months after a successful launch last month. 

Developed by innovative health and aged care provider HammondCare, the Last Days program is intended to help people with family members or friends nearing the end of life to learn skills and knowledge to boost their death literacy.

It offers information about ongoing practical support resources and services available to help a carer cope with emotions and grief during the last phase of life and bereavement after death.

Katrina Pearson, 44, is facing the challenge of caring for her mum who has been living for many years with Huntington’s Disease and was among those who attended a Last Days workshop held at Hammondville earlier this month.

“Death is certainly something we need to talk about more,” Katrina said.

“Grief sits inside us. Over time, we develop skills and strategies on how to cope and manage our grief.

“Some days something triggers it and it flares up to the surface and it can be hard to cope. It’s important to have people around you to help you get through those days.”

Survey results from March workshops showed that 100% of participants felt that they knew more about how to support a person with a life-limiting illness during their last months, weeks and days of life.

Many also felt they had a better understanding of what can be done to help relieve physical symptoms a person might experience during the last days of life.

HammondCare Clinical Nurse and palliative care specialist, Rachael Zielinski, confirmed these sessions have been beneficial as one of the workshop presenters and said participants had been very receptive.

“The response we are getting with minimal promotion shows there is obviously a genuine demand in the community for this kind of information,” she said.

“We want these sessions to be a safe place for people to reflect and discuss what the death process means to them.”

The upcoming online sessions will be held on Wednesday, April 26 and Wednesday, May 3 from 2-4pm specifically catering to people facing the loss of someone living with dementia.

For more information the Last Days program, call 1300 884 304 or email HammondCare at lastdays@hammond.com.au

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