Next stop…London!

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It was really exciting to be invited to present at St Christopher’s Hospice in London. As many of you will know, St Christopher’s was the first hospice ever established and remains a world leader in terms of service innovation. I contributed to a workshop exploring how to support people with frailty at the end of life – a huge challenge facing both England and New Zealand. Dr Caroline Nicholson spoke about her excellent research exploring the experiences of frail older people in their last months and years of life. Heather Richardson, the joint Chief Executive of St Christopher’s, also shared her considerable knowledge of the implications of ‘new public health’ approaches to palliative care for the hospice sector. I was invited to discuss the work we have been doing exploring family caregiver needs, and working with family carers and whānau to think about ways in which these can better met both by health services and within communities. There was particular interest in Ros Capper’s book, The Accidental Carer. Members of the audience confirmed they hadn’t heard of a similar practical guide to caregiving  written by a family carer (and a quarter of the audience bought a copy!). Ros and I have also been invited to contribute to on-going discussions and hopefully a new project (funding, as ever, permitting). One audience member reported afterwards that the workshop represented a ‘sea change’ in St Christopher’s thinking and it was great to have been a part of that.

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