Help for end of life – Me, A Journal for My Journey | News

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Help for end of life – Me, A Journal for My Journey

Inspired by a patient who spent seven months in Royal Surrey at the end of her life, our Assistant Chaplain, Mark Witherden has written a practical and thoughtful book to help those coming to terms with their death.

The first 100 hundred copies of Mark’s book, Me – A Journal For My Journey, have been published for Trust patients, thanks to funding from Royal Surrey Charity.

The book aims to help patients at the end of life who may be facing challenging questions and conversations with their medical team, such as their choice for their preferred place to spend their last days or weeks.

Mark said: “This journal came about because I spoke to a patient who really struggled to deal with questions around end of life decisions, and I wanted to find a resource that could help. When I did some research, I couldn’t find a book that would help, so I decided to write my own.

“The book is written in a journal style with lots of space to record thoughts and feelings, rather than offering guidance, but it encourages patients to write down important preferences that will help staff, as well as families and carers, in their last few weeks and after the patient’s death.”

Copies of the book have been given to staff in the Palliative Care Team and Onslow Ward and Mark has already received positive feedback from patients.

He added: “The Spiritual Care Team have all sorts of tools and strategies to help our end of life patients and we are always keen to use the right approach to suit each individual’s needs, but of course there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of helping people.

“For example, for some patients who are not afraid of death, the book can help them help their families by writing down their wishes to celebrate their death for instance. It’s a way of opening up sensitive conversations at a difficult time.”

Heather Wilson, Lead Chaplain, praised Mark’s initiative and hard work creating the book. She said “This piece of work is very innovative. It is helpful not just for patients, their families and staff but also for the Spiritual Care Team. We have already found it valuable as a way of helping our patients both in hospital and in the community. Well done Mark.”

If you would like a copy of Mark’s book for your patient, please email the Spiritual Care Team.

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