good life, good death, good grief

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New bereavement resources for workplaces

A new collection of resources has been launched this week to make workplaces better for people who are grieving.

The new Bereavement Charter Mark will recognise employers who support bereaved staff. It is accompanied by a Bereavement-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit providing tips and advice on how employers, managers and colleagues can support people who are grieving.

“Losing someone we love is the hardest thing many of us have to go through, and the pandemic has made life even more difficult for people who are bereaved.” Says Rebecca Patterson, Director of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief. “No-one can take away someone’s grief, but employers have the power to make someone’s life a little better or a lot worse.”

To gain the new Bereavement Charter Mark, employers must agree to take some simple steps towards creating a supportive environment for people who are bereaved, for example educating staff about bereavement, or creating a local bereavement policy.

“I was worried about how I would cope. “ says Clare, who was apprehensive about returning to work after her Mum died. “My line manager was just brilliant. It was a case of ‘do what you can, when you can, if you can’. I can’t begin to tell you the relief this gave me. But other people at work said and did some really insensitive things that made me feel terrible. Hopefully these new resources will help other people facing the same situation as me.”

The new resources were produced by the Scottish Bereavement Charter Group, and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, a charity initiative working to make Scotland a place where everyone knows how to help when someone is caring, dying or grieving. The resources include:

From Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care:

Scottish Bereavement-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

This online toolkit is designed for people who want to make their workplace a supportive place for people who have been bereaved. It includes information for colleagues, managers and employers, as well as for people returning to work after a bereavement themselves. The toolkit includes links to training, resources, films, good practice guidance and bereavemetn support organisations.

What to do when a colleague has been bereaved

This leaflet gives some tips on the kind of things that a colleague can say or do to show support when someone is bereaved.

Checklist of steps to take

This checklist shows the various ways that an employer can create a supportive environment for bereaved staff.

From the Scottish Bereavement Charter Group:

Bereavement Charter Mark for Employers in Scotland

An employer can demonstrate that their organisation is proactively working to support bereaved employees by displaying the Bereavement Charter Mark on their website or within their buildings. Having the charter mark on your website demonstrates that you are working to make your community a place where people who are bereaved feel supported by the people around them.

Employer's Guide to the Bereavement Charter

The Guide introduces the Bereavement Charter for Adults and Children in Scotland, and explains how employers can demonstrate their support for the Charter.

Bereavement Charter Film

This film introduces the Bereavement Charter for Adults and Children in Scotland, and suggests ways that everyone can help create a Scotland where people are supported when they're grieving.

“Becoming a bereavement-friendly workplace doesn’t have to be expensive - a lot of it is about flexibility, sensitivity and good communication.” Says Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care.

“The Charter Mark and Toolkit help employers to see how simple actions by colleagues and managers can make a big difference to people who are living with grief.”

The new resources have been tested out in Inverclyde, with positive results.

“At CVS Inverclyde we’ve been working towards achieving the new Bereavement Charter Mark, and it has been an incredibly positive experience for all involved.’ says Alison Bunce of Inverclyde Cares. “It has been a great opportunity to bring colleagues together and talk through what we want to do to support each other through the difficult times that can come with bereavement.”

The new resources are being launched as part of ‘Demystifying Death Week’ which runs from 2-6 May. Demystifying Death Week is about shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

“People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.” says Mark Hazelwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

“Demystifying death week, and the new Bereavement Charter Mark and Workplaces Toolkit, are about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.”

 

The new resources can be accessed at: https://www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk/content/bereavement_friendly_workplaces/

Time to Demystify Death

Demystifying Death Week is underway (2-6 May), shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

Why?

People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.

People can have questions about serious illness or death. But often they don't know who to ask.

Making plans when you’re healthy means there is less to think about when you’re ill. But often people put off making plans until it is too late.

Demystifying Death week is about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

The week was initiated by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief – a charity-led collaboration of more than 1000 individuals and organisations that want Scotland to be a place where people can be open about and plan for death, dying and bereavement.

“If people know a bit more about death and dying, they’re in a better position to take control of their own situation, support others, make plans and have informed decisions about what they’d want when the time comes.” said Rebecca Patterson, Director of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

“Sometimes people worry about things, like what to say to someone who’s been bereaved, or being refused CPR. Perhaps having more information about these could help people worry less.

“There are lots of resources out there that provide information, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to look. We want to make this information easier for people to get at, and we’ll be sharing a lot of it this week using the hashtag #DemystifyDeath.”

This will include information on the kinds of preparations people can make if they are worried their health may get worse, for example by making a Power of Attorney and talking to the people close to them about an anticipatory care plan. They will also be sharing tips on how ordinary people can provide informal support to a friend or family member who is caring, dying or grieving, and places people can go for more formal support.

New resources

The 3rd May will see the launch of a suite of resources to help workplaces become more ‘bereavement-friendly. The new resources were produced by the Scottish Bereavement Charter Group, and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, and include:

  • A Bereavement-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit with information to help employers develop helpful workplace practices relating to bereavement.
  • A Charter Mark that gives recognition to employers working to become more bereavement-friendly.
  • An Employer’s Guide to the Bereavement Charter.
  • A leaflet ‘What to do when a colleague has been bereaved’.
  • A checklist of ‘things to do’ to become a bereavement-friendly workplace.

Events

Various online and face-to-face events are taking place during the week, for example, in Dundee Coffin Club Caledonia Dundee will hold evening sessions providing a safe space to allow people to learn about and to discuss their options surrounding their end-of-life decisions and funeral planning. Battlefield Community Project in Glasgow invite members of the community to participate in creating a memorial strawberry patch. NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde are holding a week-long programme of online events for staff and members of the public covering topics from preparing for hospital to making a Will.

A full list of events is available here: DD Week 2022 Events Listing

“We’re often told that death is a ‘taboo’ – something that people don’t want to talk about.’ said Rebecca Patterson, Director of GLGDGG. ‘But surveys show that in Scotland most people are actually fairly comfortable talking about death. Perhaps the right opportunities just don’t present themselves. Demystifying Death week is a chance to open up about death, air these topics and become a bit better at supporting each other through these difficult times.”

Launch of new book on Public Health Palliative Care

Experts from across the world have come together to develop the first ever Oxford Textbook of Public Health Palliative Care.

The new textbook is a comprehensive exploration of the idea that, though health and social care services are important, there are many equally important influences on people's experiences of death, dying, loss and care. Public health palliative care’ is a term used to encompass a variety of approaches that involve working with communities and wider society to improve people’s experience of death, dying and bereavement.

Contributions from Scotland include a chapter by Dr Sally Paul (Strathclyde University) on Public Health Palliative Care Education: Children and Schools; and a chapter by Rebecca Patterson and Mark Hazelwood (Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care) exploring Developing End of LIfe Literacy Through Public Education.

The textbook explores the role of 'new' public health, or health promotion, as the basis for the development of public health palliative care, looking beyond the traditional symptom-focused view of palliative care to emphasise the crucial roles of culture and community in death, dying, loss and caregiving.

The new book aims to be comprehensive in scope, covering the need for a public health approach to palliative care, basic theory and concepts, practice methods, population-based approaches, and research and education.

All are invited to attend one of the free online launch events:

Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine online launch event 11th May.

Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine online launch event 12th May

The new textbook was edited by Julian Abel and Allan Kellehear and is available to purchase from Oxford University Press.

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Before I die I want to ...
Bereavement Charter for Scotland
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