I had been invited to join the team at Dover Park Hospice at their weekly Journal Session with a view to sharing the benefits of the recently evaluated biographical life story programme: Sharing Stories for Wellbeing.
Following introductions made by Gabriel Lim of the Lien Foundation, I was delighted when representatives from the Assisi Hospice, Mount Alvernia Hospital, and Asia Pacific Hospice Network joined the Dover Park team in early February at HCA Hospice Care.
This session was followed by a visit to Apex Harmony Lodge, Singapore’s first purpose built home for people with dementia.
A common theme running through the day was the enthusiasm of staff to use creativity in their day to day work with patients, carers and residents.
We explored the use of biographical storytelling within a group and individual context and the well-being benefits of what is a simple set of skills, easily learnt, easily shared.
We soon realised that many practitioners have already recognised the power of life story sharing. What is needed is a structure to streamline and save that work in order to maximise the potential benefits. This is where the introduction to the Sharing Stories for Wellbeing Programme was able to help.
After presenting a short film in which a hospice day care patient describes her experience of participating in a biographical life story sharing workshop, I was honoured to have the opportunity to offer an insight into the programme I have been developing over the past five years in the UK.
Observations from the recent programme evaluation conducted by the University of Northampton included:
- the themes to emerge engender a sense of positive wellbeing for those that took part
- taking part in the Story Sharing workshops also led participants to explore new activities with some experiencing improved confidence and reduced social isolation; and
- provided that sufficient safeguards are in place for both participants and facilitators to manage difficult disclosures, storytelling would appear to have positive effect on wellbeing in a palliative care setting.
Feedback was very positive and I hope to have the chance in the coming year to build on this by delivering dedicated in-house training days in the region along the lines of the programme currently being offered in England in collaboration with Hospice UK.
For more information about the programme and its benefits, please email Miranda Quinney on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the evaluation are available at www.sharingstoriesforwelllbeing.co.uk.