paramedics learn vital end of life skills with the help of local hospice


12 March 2019

On Thursday 7th March, paramedics from across Essex and East Anglia took part in a care masterclass organised by Havens Hospices.

Havens Hospices, which includes Fair Havens Hospice, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice, organised an End of Life Masterclass in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service to help paramedics from across the region build their knowledge and gain new skills or techniques to help them care better for end of life patients.

The course was developed by one of the charity’s Hospice at Home Nursing Coordinators Kelly Watts, who had identified that there was a need and appetite for end of life training across the ambulance service.

Kelly said,

“We found that there was a need for training within the ambulance service for this area of care, as there are more callouts to end of life cases. We wanted to work with the paramedics so that we can all provide better care for the community at what can be a distressing time and from the response we’ve had I think there is a real desire from the ambulance staff themselves to improve in this area.

The day included talks from Havens Hospices’ Palliative Medicine Consultant Dr Pat Ahlquist and the charity’s Head of Adult Services Lorraine Tullett who both shared their expertise on end of life care from how to have difficult conversations with patients and family members to how hospice care works in conjunction with the emergency services. They were also joined by ‘Vivien’ a realistic mannequin created by David Halliwell from Lifecast Body Simulation specifically for end of life training.

David, who was previously Head of Education for the South Western Ambulance Service, explained

“I was becoming increasingly frustrated that the mannequins the paramedics trained on were so far from reality; I decided to create one. I think getting your training tools as close to real life is incredibly important, especially when it comes to how we are treating people at the end of their lives. I am incredibly proud of how much Vivien and my other mannequins have helped with creating better care across the board and am happy that I was able to help Havens Hospices in sharing their knowledge in a practical and hopefully more impactful way than the traditional training days.”

Daniel Phillips, Clinical Lead for Mid and South Essex, joined the team for the day. He said:

“The day has been incredibly informative and interesting for all of us. Across the sector we are constantly trying to improve the standard of care for this important and challenging area.

“We only get one chance to get end of life care right for our patients, so I would like to extend my thanks to Havens Hospices and Kelly for putting together the training today. By working together we’ll be able to give the best level of care to our patients and help those at the end of their lives maintain their dignity and independence.”

Havens Hospices will be holding another End of Life Masterclass later in the year following the success of the course which was attended by 20 paramedics and staff from across the East of England Ambulance Service. The charity also organises a wide variety of other courses for professionals working in end of life, as well as for families and anyone facing life-limiting illnesses.

To find out more about the courses Havens Hospices run please click here.

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