14 May 2021

How one provider is encouraging residents to talk about death

Dying Matters

London-based care provider Octavia is encouraging its older residents to have open conversations about life, death and dying, through a pioneering culture development programme for its award-winning care team.

Launching today, “Better lives, Better endings” will build skills, knowledge and confidence around handling sensitive conversations to support effective engagement with the health and care system and provide peace of mind to residents that those involved in their care understand what matters most to them.

Neil McCarthy, Assistant Director of Care and Support said: “Across the UK, thousands of people are dying every year without their wishes being met. Despite Covid bringing death into sharp focus, many people don’t have the right plans in place because they are unaware of what to do and unsure of how to talk about it. That’s where this training can make a real difference - empowering Octavia’s staff to provide greater choice for their residents as they near the final years of their lives.”

The programme, developed by St Christopher’s Hospice and Octavia, is the result of a groundbreaking project looking at how the multiple agencies involved in caring for people towards the end of their lives, including care teams, housing providers, the NHS and local authorities, can work together to ensure individuals experience a good end to their life.

One of the key aims of the programme is to understand and capture a person’s preferences as to how they want to live, where they would like to die, and what specific plans and preparations they wish to make beforehand.

Delivered over an 8-week period, the course will ensure staff are better equipped and supported to do the important and skilled work they do, reinforcing the professional and advocacy role they play in end-of-life care.

As a not-for-profit organisation providing homes, support and care to thousands of people in London, Octavia’s care staff are regularly trained on the latest best practices of how to increase quality of life for residents.

“At Octavia, we believe in the power of a proactive approach to ensure better lives and better endings for residents living in our seven extra-care schemes”, Neil continues.

“Our new culture development programme with St Christopher’s Hospice is a great example of how we are working with health and social care partners to share and implement best practice to provide the best possible outcomes for the people we support. We hope that by sharing these resources, other providers of housing and end to life care will be able to adopt some of the same good practice in their own work.”