An NHS mental health service in Oldham has developed a creative new tool to support people with dementia. Springboard Oldham dementia carers group found that people needed help to have these important, but difficult, conversations about death and care needs.
Polly Kaiser, consultant psychologist with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, has worked with award-winning illustrator, Tony Husband, and dementia trainer, Linda Green, to produce a leaflet which helps people to prepare for the end of life. Let’s talk about death, shall we
Springboard Oldham dementia carers group found that people needed help to have these important, but difficult, conversations about death and care needs. People in Oldham living with dementia, their carers, and others from the national dementia voices network (DEEP), came together to develop key messages.
As a person with dementia, I found it refreshing that we were at the heart of this process from the start. Jacqui Bingham
Tony brought their ideas to life in his unique cartoon style, using humour to address some of the common questions people have, the barriers they face, why it’s good to talk, what you can do to help, and the support that’s available.
We asked people with dementia, their carers and family members what was working well and what needs to change. One of the main issues was when and how to have conversations around death and end of life care. One person told us his family had said ‘you’ve years left yet, don’t bother, leave it until nearer the time’.
But by starting these conversations early, people can begin to make plans so their needs and wishes can be known – and ideally met. We were lucky that funding from Dementia United meant we could work with the amazingly creative Tony Husband, to translate these ideas into something we hope will be useful to many.” Polly Kaiser
Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust have a range of resources for carers on their website.