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Expressing end of life care decisions through art

Monday 08 Jan 2024

Jersey Hospice Care is working with Les Amis to help its residents understand how they can plan their future care and support.

The ‘No Barriers Here’ workshops use arts-based methods (including drawing and loom making) to help people with learning disabilities talk about and understand decisions around end of life care. This includes discussions on medical treatment, where they would like to be cared for, who they’d like to have around, how they’d like to be remembered, and preferences on funeral arrangements.

The ‘No Barriers Here’ approach was originally developed by The Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge, as a pilot project during the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the inequities experienced by people with learning disabilities in palliative and end of life care.

Gail Edwards, Jersey Hospice Care Nurse Champion and trainer of the ‘No Barriers Here’ approach said:

“It’s important every person is seen as an individual. These workshops have shown that using this proactive, creative approach in engaging with people is very effective with expressing the individual’s needs. It’s the person’s own thoughts and wishes on how they’d like to be looked after at the end of their life.”

Following a successful trial, more workshops are planned for the New Year at Les Amis. It’s made up of three, two-hour workshops, with six participants and their support workers.

Alison Brolly, Registered Manager at Les Amis said:

“For our residents – who have a wide range of care needs – the workshops empower them to talk about and understand a challenging topic, so they can make important decisions about their own care.”

During one of the workshops, where residents were interviewed by the media on what they thought of the workshops, resident Marguerite said:

"I like my music and I made a drawing of how I would like Abba to be played to me while I'm in hospital.

"I've loved this and I would like to do some more of it."

Val, another resident, said:

"I've drawn how I would like to play my video games and I've also drawn how I want to be with my family.

"I'm happy that people know what I want to happen when I die. I've got a toy dog and I've shown that I want to be buried with him because of these workshops."

Les Amis residents (with their support workers and Alison from Les Amis and Gail from Hospice) taking part in the No Barriers Here workshop