Discussing dying with people who are facing death is technically challenging and emotionally unpredictable work.
Consequently, many senior health workers resist and avoid it. This misses the chance to allow dying people control and influence over their treatment and care.
The SAGE & THYME for Advance Care Planning (ACP) workshop has been delivered fifty times around the UK.
Participant feedback (31% GPs) has demonstrated significantly increased confidence in starting an end of life care or advance care planning conversation and in responding to the patient’s concerns. 74% of workshop participants said that they definitely planned to change their practice as a result of the workshop.
The SAGE & THYME ACP workshops are facilitated by three communications skills experts; they are 3.5 hours in duration and can be attended by up to 30 senior members of staff.
Workshops include a combination of presentations, a video, small group work, a conversational structure and interactive rehearsals of the conversations. Learners focus on the evidence-based, effective communication skills that help to sensitively introduce advance care planning conversation.
They learn how to ‘knock gently on the door’. The structure also provides a consultation guide for health workers as patient concerns and fears are disclosed. The ACP workshop does not cover breaking bad news, Mental Capacity Act, or specific documents such as ‘preferred priorities of care’: it assumes that participants are already familiar with the process of advance care planning.
Dr Peter Nightingale, GP: “I was reasonably confident about communication in EoL [end of life] (perhaps cocky!), so when I attended the SAGE and THYME workshop last September I smugly thought I didn’t have much to learn. I was wrong; it helped me greatly to structure conversations better. I used this structure for the Dying Matters DVD which was well received. The 30 GPs in Morecambe also gave very positive feedback.”
Dr Ilona Bendefy, GP tutor for East Midlands Deanery and appraiser for North Derbyshire CCG: “Many thanks for coming to Chesterfield education centre to present to our sessional GPs and local palliative care specialists, nurse and practice nurses. The presentation was extremely clear well delivered and most helpful – as I am sure your formal feedback will confirm.”
Yasmin Webb, Honorary Assistant Psychologist, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: “I would definitely recommend this workshop, it has really opened my eyes to how by following a structure, it can make really difficult conversations feel more manageable.”
UHSM runs SAGE & THYME ACP workshops for organisations on a commercial basis.