I spent three days observing the palliative consultancy team at a metropolitan hospital and two days in the community. While in the palliative care consultancy team I was invited to attend their “Soul Bowl” session. This is where all members of the consultancy team including consultants, registrars and nurses meet weekly and “debrief” on patients that have passed away. A symbol is placed in the bowl as a way of remembering that particular patient. A discussion takes place about each patient’s end of life experience and the team discuss what they did well or what they could have done better. I found this a really good way to remember each patient and improve practice.
Following my PEPA placement, I introduced a “Bowl of memories” following the same concept. It is brought out at our regular palliative meetings. This helps our team debrief and this is a great way to have a chat about our experiences with each resident who has passed away. Some of our residents are with us for a couple of years and many different people have their own personal experiences with them. I have found that I now get a lot more staff to the palliative meetings including allied health, hospitality staff, lifestyle staff, nurses and chaplains. We quite often have tears and a laugh and the feedback I have had from all staff is very positive. The bowl of memories sits in our reception area for all to see. Many family members have asked what it is and when I explain it they think it is a great idea that each deceased resident is remembered and respected.
Thank you for the opportunity to have a PEPA placement as if I hadn’t done it this would not have happened. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement.