Help for Hospices Conference
The conference in Bournemouth was an amazing few days of inspiring presentations and conversations. I was there to promote the Power of Dreams study and present a piece of work looking at the demographics of the children and young people that Dreams Come True work with.
I recently attended the Help the Hospices conference, with Dreams Come True's Chief Exec Peter Newman. The conference was held in Bournemouth and was an amazing few days of inspiring presentations and conversations with those working in the field of palliative care. The focus of the conference was based around the future of (mostly adult) hospices, but Dreams Come True felt that they wanted to be there, to be recognised as a part of the national conversation around the future of palliative care in the UK.
I was there to promote the Power of Dreams study, and present a piece of work I did for the charity, in the form of an audit. This audit looked at gender, type of dream, geographical location of children and young people and condition.
Dreams Come True also felt it important to be there to make their presence known in the face of the new challenges facing transitional and adult services (i.e children living longer with life limiting and long term conditions, and moving into adult services). Dreams Come True wanted to highlight to delegates that the work that they do extends to young people up to the age of 21 - something that similar wish or dream fulfilment charities do not do. I think that this aspect of their work is important as it allows young adults - who might not actually feel like adults yet - to dream, and have the opportunity to have their dream fulfilled. Hopefully our presence at the conference will encourage professionals working in adult services with younger people to refer to the charity.
A presentation by Dr Alex Jadad really caught my attention at the conference, and really relates to the work that Dreams Come True do. Dr Jahad explained that his mission is to enable people to live full, healthy and happy lives until their last breath. He talked about living well, making the most of life and doing the things that are important to us before we die - creating ‘maximum joy’ before death. Dreams Come True reflect these values in their work, creating dream experiences for children and young people with life limiting and long term conditions. Dr Jadad’s talk was emotive, and captured the audience, encouraging delegates to think more about creating the best experiences possible at end of life. Dreams Come True’s presence at the conference demonstrated that they want to be part of Dr Jadad’s ‘maximum joy’ idea - creating fun, meaningful and life changing experiences for children and young people at end of life.
Dr Jadad also spoke of the difference between families being 'grateful' and families being 'satisfied' with services provided to them at end of life. He wanted families to not just appreciate care / services because they help in some way, but because they actually respond to need and are of high quality. Again, this is something that Dreams Come True are engaged with, through their service evaluation and the longer term exploration of the charity’s impact in the Power of Dreams project.
It was a pleasure to listen to talks such as Dr Jahad's, and meet other people working in the field. There is so much interesting research going on in the hospice world, and I came away feeling really motivated and lucky to be working in such an important field.
I'm entering a really important stage in my research now too, interviewing families! It has taken lots of thinking and planning to get to this stage, so i’m really happy!
Will update on this next time!