Hospiscare trains GPs to break bad news

Advice line to be launched for professionals dealing with end of life care.

Addressing her 19th annual meeting of Hospiscare’s Honiton Support Group, the charity’s lead nurse in the town talked about the educational role she has undertaken with other professionals.

Angela Phillips said the new part of her work was the result of a Government paper on end of life care.

As well as her managerial and clinical work, she was now working closely with GPs, students from the Peninsula Medical School and others - because Hospiscare staff are experts in the field.

Some of the medical students are benefiting from placements with nurses.

Breaking bad news and anger management are among the subjects being touched upon. Mrs Phillips said it is not unusual for the bereaved to feel angry and that, sometimes, that anger can be directed at health professionals.

Mrs Phillips, who has gained a post graduate certificate in management (health and social care), said: “We are working with trained doctors who are going on to become GPs and providing awareness of our services, day centres and volunteers.

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“We are the specialists in the field.”

Hospiscare is running ‘I don’t know what to say’ workshops for those coming into contact with the bereaved and is working with a top specialist to ensure patients get the most out of life and don’t get stuck in a rut dwelling on their health problems. The charity is imminently poised to launch an advice line for professionals and others, which will run alongside an out-of-hours helpline for patients.

Three nurses and a team of volunteers currently work for Hospiscare in Honiton.

The volunteer co-ordinator, Jim, has recently stood down and the charity aims to organise a thank you for him.

Hospiscare has between 40 and 50 patients on its books in Honiton at any one time.

Eileen Rooke, chairman of the support group, thanked Mrs Phillips for her report.

“It is all so new and interesting,” she said.