Kath M: 00:10 So I’m thrilled to announce and introduce the new text “Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers.” Now to tell you a little bit about the resource. I want to just introduce a little bit about what that looks like and about the companion resource. So the textbook starts with a chapter for you specifically for you as personal support workers. It can of course be adapted to other people providing care. But for you preparing to care, looking at you how you prefer to care and looking at your baggage and beliefs, and looking at you taking care of yourself and maintaining therapeutic boundaries so that you can provide excellent care. Chapter Two is about the dying process. Often when people describe the dying process I think what they’re thinking about is those last days and hours, and what are the physical changes and what happens as people are imminently dying or actively dying.
Kath M: 01:07 But the reality is, is that there are changes in how we’re dying, as a society, as a country, as a civilization. There are changes in how we’re dying. And that’s an important thing for us to understand. So that’s Chapter Two – it is about the dying process. Chapter Three is about hospice palliative care and integrating a palliative approach. The principles and practices of hospice palliative care, and some of the key, the key things and how we use those terms across the country. Chapter Four is about enhancing, increasing physical comfort and looks at some basic tools and communication skills. And advocacy and palliation and then looks at the most common symptoms and in particular pain difficult breathing and decreased appetite and weight loss. Of course also changes in bowel and bladder and delirium and nausea and vomiting, and all of those other you know common symptoms.
Kath M: 02:10 Now then Chapter 5 is about the psychosocial components. How do we provide psychosocial support? Some pieces about loss and grief, about being with, about supporting family, and then Chapter Six is on last days and hours. And that’s an exciting chapter because 1, it discusses preparing and making sure that we’re prepared and have supported the person and the family. ,So that things are in place for a time of death. But also looks at the physical changes that happen and then if these are the physical changes, what can we do for the dying person but also what can we do for the family? I often hear people say you know, taking care of the dying person is a breeze, it’s supporting the family that’s difficult. Absolutely! The dying person may be lying there quite peacefully.
Kath M: 02:57 But it’s the family dealing with the emotions and the changes, and for them, death might be very new to them and even if they’re doing it professionally, death can feel very new when it’s our own personal family member. So lots of ways how to support. And then time of death and what we can do following death, and the use of rituals and supporting not only the person in the family, but also if somebody is in a facility how do we provide support for the staff and the other residents etc.? Chapter 7 then goes right back to where we started with you and the focus on you. How did we, how do you provide care for yourself? What do you do to nurture yourself so you can carry on doing this work?
I think about the colleges and I think about core curriculum because many people, once they get into the workforce, they may not have time to take courses, they may not even realize that they’re doing the work of hospice.
Kath M: 03:51 They may not clue in that 99 percent of the people that they care for are going to die while they’re in their facility, but they may not think “Oh I do the work of hospice.” I’ve looked at how do we, how do we help address this core curriculum. I think about you the instructor. So now this is to you the instructor. And I think about all that’s expected of instructors. So they have to teach this and this and this and this, and they have to be at this and this and this meeting, and they have to do this and this and this, and they have to mark this and this and this, and they have to do it.
Kath M: 04:23 I thought, OK how can I make this, how can I make this engaging for instructors? And how can I make this engaging for students who may or may not have any experience with death? And they may or may not understand how important this is. So first of all at the request of a college, I developed a workbook, and the idea that the workbook was competency-based. So, in the workbook each of the chapters is addressed through “Baggage and Beliefs” or “Beliefs and Baggage” an opportunity to reflect on personal experience and feelings and thoughts. “Solidifying Concepts” – the opportunity to look at the knowledge in the textbook and to try and integrate that knowledge and then “Integrating into Practice” which is the opportunity to develop skills. So attitudes, knowledge and skills. So trying to bring the textbook alive.
Kath M: 05:14 And so for those who like to write and like to do crossword puzzles or role plays, (and all that there are a lot of those people) but role plays or case studies. The workbook is there to help with those type of learners. Now then, I thought, OK, I’m an instructor and I don’t have much time. So, we developed PowerPoints with lecture notes, and then we also played with some videos and have some videos that can be used and some podcasts. And then finally an Instructor’s Guide which I’ll go into next. My idea is that I wanted these resources to be delicious and digestible. And when I say delicious and digestible, I think delicious in that when you open them you want to look further. And digestible. Because when you do look further they are easy to understand. And you know what to do with them.
Kath M: 06:03 So with that in mind I hired an amazing artist, Joanne Thompson, who’s done the artwork, the illustrations and they are beautiful. So I hope that as you come to use the textbook and the workbook and the PowerPoints, I hope that you will find them delicious and digestible.
I just wish I was there with you so that we could learn together. But perhaps you’ll e-mail me and tell me about your learning experiences that we can share some of those. I believe firmly that learning is an invitation to teach. Teaching is an invitation to learn. And so I believe that that’s a process that we do together. So thank you.
Kath Murray with Life and Death Matters.