Podcast full of advice for folk attending dying loved ones

Denise van Aalst hosts a new podcast aimed at helping those caring for people in their last days....
Denise van Aalst hosts a new podcast aimed at helping those caring for people in their last days. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES
"Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes", wrote Christopher Bullock in his 18th-century play The Cobbler of Preston.

Being able to have the best possible exit from this world at the natural end of our life is something we all hope for.

A new ground-breaking podcast series explores with honesty and compassion how to care for someone who is dying.

The Ending Life Well podcast has been created by the specialist palliative care team at Otago Community Hospice.

Hosted by palliative specialist nurse Denise van Aalst, the series discussed topics including finding meaning, medication, eating well, carer and patient fatigue and funeral planning.

Chief executive Ginny Green said the podcast was built for those caring for someone who was dying.

“Equipping and supporting this huge workforce of carers — unpaid, untrained and in uncharted territory, is one of our most important roles as a specialist provider.

While the team at the hospice cared for those who had complex palliative needs, it was well aware that there were others "out there dying" who did not have direct access to its skilled specialist team, she said.

Topics in the series were inspired by the Kowhai Programme, a carers education programme run by the hospice.

The programme was created in response to a photovoice study conducted by Dr Jennifer Angelo and University of Otago Associate Professor Richard Egan.

The study included interviewing family caregivers to understand their experience of caring for dying relatives.

Participants of the study explained their role thorough photographs and stories.

Ms Green said the podcast enabled hospice staff to share knowledge — "our tricks of the trade" — with family carers who might be well out of their depth as they went about caring for a loved one who was dying.

The series was specifically built around particular challenges and complexities that could arise when looking after someone who was dying.

The series can be found by searching podcast apps or visiting otagohospice.co.nz/patient-services/kowhai-programme/carers-podcast.

simon.henderson@thestar.co.nz

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