Monday, May 26, 2008

Multidisciplinary Team Meetings

Last week I was teaching in Oxford about improving the assessment and support of families. Part of the day was encouraging participants to think about the patient and the family (using the word family in the broadest sense) as one unit and then describing what was happening in the family in relation to:
  • Family organisation and character
  • Parenting
  • Communication
  • Emotional Life
  • Alliances
  • Identity
  • Adaptability
Many struggled to separate the work they were doing with the families to what was happening in the family. There was much discussion and in trying to generate ideas we discussed how complex MDT meetings were and how threatened people felt. Many felt such meetings could be helped by:
  • Displaying the family genogram
  • Summarising the key issues for the family (not what their focus of intervention was)
  • Asking the team to generate ideas about what was happening rather than give suggestions about what the clinician could do
It would be the responsibility of the team to come up with ideas rather than the critique what was already being done

Friday, May 2, 2008


A month has gone by and this is the first time I have had to update my Blog. The Hospice has been busy with moving patients onto the Summer Ward and clearing the IPU ready for refurbishment. Colin and is team of helpers have worked all hours to make sure it is ready for the builders.

I have finished my first assignment for my Masters and am awaiting the results. Writing 5000 words seemed an enormous task initially and then the week before I was trying to reduce it from 6000 to 5000.

This week a journalist from the East Anglian Daily Times spoke to me about a topical video on the Internet by an American Randy Pausch who had given a Last Lecture about his life and written a book (he called a manual) for his family for after his death, the PowerPoint presentation he used for the lecture is also available. A shorter interview can be found on the Times online. Details about Randy are on Wikipedia.

You might ask what relevance this has for us at St Nicholas, well if you listen and read his words, Randy is talking about exactly what we do here at the Hospice - we help people prepare for their death and help their family make preparations as well.

There is nothing that can take away the pain of leaving someone you love but making preparations can help a little, though it may not be for everyone. Not everyone would want to make a video or write a book, but some make a Memory Box, leave a letter or a special item. Families left behind also value the opportunity to be prepared, I have known many husbands who have had some cooking lessons from their wives and wives who have been taught how to manage the fuse box.

Randy Pausch is leaving 3 young children - nothing can be worse for a parent and Winston's Wish gives advice on how to talk to children and manage a serious illness.

There is no right or wrong way to prepare for a death, but staff at the Hospice have the skills and training to support families who want to make their own preparations and help them live every day to the full.