Together for Short Lives

Back from the Together for Short Lives conference and feeling inspired about how we can develop services and achieve more. The focus of the conference was ‘new perspectives’ and looked at the issues that the field is facing as it works towards developing services for the future.

I’m just back from the Together for Short Lives conference in Birmingham and feeling very inspired! The focus of the conference was ‘new perspectives’ and looked at the issues that the field is facing as it works towards developing services for the future. The position that was very much taken throughout the whole day was – although cuts to budgets have been made, how can we best move forward, with the resources that are available to us? I think this is a really positive view, and reflects what charities like Dreams Come True do anyway – making the very best out of life. I guess that most people could probably spend a really long time discussing what we don’t have, but this focus on moving forward was great to be part of.

Life before death was a big theme to come from the conference, with Professor Allan Kellehear talking about compassionate communities and the promotion of good social, psychological and spiritual health while living with a life limiting condition. Professor Kellehear talked of involving schools, workplaces and local businesses in supporting communities to provide support and care for individuals and families living with life limiting conditions. So thinking about moving away from total reliance on professional health services, to a much more community orientated program of engagement. Dr Lorna Fraser then presented her data on the changing population in paediatric palliative care, telling us that the prevalence of children and young people living with life limiting conditions is increasing, especially in the young adult population. Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner ended the morning, speaking about why research matters, and the importance of developing an evidence base to guide service development.

I attended these talks with the Dreams Come True team and I definitely felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the Power of Dreams project! Listening to others talk about the importance of research, and how necessary and important it is when thinking about the future of organisations made me feel really glad to be doing this project with Dreams Come True. Dr Fraser’s discussion also highlighted the importance of working with young adults (Dreams Come True work with young people up to the age of 21), as they seem to be a growing group within the population. It seems like Dreams Come True are in a really great place right now, doing work that fits with current ideas within the field.

It also feels great to be able to talk about the work you do with other people who really care about it. I know my own friends and family are kind of interested in my PhD but actually, have lots of interesting stuff going on in their own fields to be excited about! So, being amongst others who really get why you do what you do, and who are passionate about the same things is just really nice, and again, gave me a new burst of excitement about the project and its potential outcomes. Of course, it was also great to spend the day with some of the Dreams Come True team and catch up with them about recent dreams and plans.

Overall it was a fantastic day and I think that we all met lots of interesting people and are really excited about our new connections and future work!

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Author: Jayne Galinsky

Date: 20/03/2014

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