A teaching pack on encountering loss and death was launched in Wellington Hospital last month.
Palliative medicine consultant Dr Sinéad Donnelly has devised the pack ‘Going Home’ which comprises a 23-minute DVD, a hard-back folder containing facilitator’s notes, stills from the film, educational domains, references and glossary. The pack describes and explores relatives’ experiences of caring for someone dying at home.
The film traces the experiences of five families and is a powerful documentary on contemporary hospice and palliative care in Aotearoa New Zealand. The documentary explores the courage and love shown by carers and the support provided by nurses and doctors to facilitate that care at home.
‘People who are dying are also very much alive and the best medicine that they get is the love and attention of those with whom they have shared their lives. Often the best place they can do that is home,’ Dr Donnelly said.
The resource is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate health-care professionals including those in social work and other allied health areas to foster debate and increase awareness about where people may choose to die when death is anticipated. It is also seen as useful for chaplains and others in pastoral care.
The pack was translated into te reo by Ngahiwi Apanui who welcomed it as an important prompt for Maori to think more about what death means in their culture. The documentary was screened on Maori television in June.
Sinéad Donnelly is a consultant in palliative medicine at Wellington Hospital. Her interest in the medium of art has led her to make several related documentary films exploring folklore traditions associated with dying and the experience of the moment of death in a palliative care unit, at home and in hospital. So far four documentaries have been shown on national television in Ireland exploring the importance of community support in home care, how children deal with grief and the experience of dying at home.
Image: Dr Sinéad Donnelly speaks beside a screening of the DVD in her grief pack at its launch in Wellington Hospital in September.
For more information about the pack, contact Dr Donnelly