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Lantern Model shines a light on good nursing practice at Hospice in the Weald


Finding the person within the patient is the focus of a nursing programme now being championed across all aspects of care at Hospice in the Weald.

A group of staff at the Hospice have recently taken part in the Lantern Model, a programme pioneered by St Christopher’s Hospice, which centres on the person behind the illness and their wishes.

The four nurses who’ve been actively involved in the Lantern Model and their colleague who runs the Hospice’s Living Well programme, say they now feel empowered to continue their good practice and are confident to adopt fresh initiatives to further enhance the experience of patients and their families.

Here, Staff Nurse Ruth David and Stephanie Hall, Head of Living Well, share their experience of the Lantern Model Programme and explain how this exciting collaboration with St Christopher’s has reinforced why what matters to the patient is everyone’s business.

Patient, Daughter and therapy dog in Hospice Gardens

How did you hear about the Lantern Model Programme and why did you get involved?

Ruth: “After 30 years as a nurse, mostly in ICU, I’d only recently moved to work at Hospice in the Weald and so I was keen to do a palliative care course. When my manager shared the details of the Lantern Model it just sounded captivating.”

Stephanie: “The Lantern Model approach to finding the person within the patient and focussing on what matters to them, really resonates with our Living Well programme approach.”


What have been the highlights of the Lantern Model programme?

Stephanie: “I think for me, one of the most important things is that a lot of the person-centred practice of the Lantern Model – we’re already doing. And that’s so encouraging for the workforce to see that the core part of what they’re doing is good and the Hospice as a whole is taking the right approach. It’s empowered them to recognise their strengths and given them confidence to share learning across teams.”

Ruth: “The lectures have been fantastic and the speakers really phenomenal. I’ve also found it really helpful to have it reinforced that we’re doing well and to be able to share that with the team. One of the standout moments for me, was when one of the speakers kept emphasising that you mustn’t say you’re ‘just’ doing something and that you’re never ‘just’ doing anything. That belittles the tasks you do when in fact everything you do as a nurse has value. In fact, not just us as nurses, but when the cleaner is in the patient’s room they are adding to their experience and might have an important conversation with them.”

How has the Lantern Model Programme changed what you do?

Ruth: “In terms of concrete changes, one of the most important has been the introduction of patient boards for everyone. These ‘what’s important to me boards’ are now part of the admission process and are fabulous at helping promote positive communication with patients and their families and constantly remind us to think about the person within the patient. They help to break down barriers. It can be just small things that people want us to know that can make a difference to them and how we look after them.”

“The boards were first discussed after a fantastic group of lectures early on in the course focusing on the last wishes of end-of-life patients. There was an excellent speaker, who was a nurse herself. She had nursed her husband who had MND. She spoke about the things that were important to him. This then started our discussions about what we could do; what we could offer to our end of life patients and how.”

Stephanie: “We now have a number of Lantern Model Champions across the organisation. We’ve made small Lantern Model badges for them to wear which use the St Christopher’s logo of the Lantern flower. We wear them to start a conversation – people can ask us what they are and that gives us the opportunity to talk about the programme. The badges are very basic, but they’ve helped engage the whole team in the ethos of the programme and that we are all involved in helping to recognise what’s important to patients – whether it’s the chaplain or someone in the housekeeping team. It really has had ripples throughout the whole organisation.”

“We’ve now started linking our Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings to the Lantern Model too. So instead of just discussing the clinical information we extract the person from the patient, bringing equality to what might be described as the softer things. It puts the science and the art of nursing on a level.”

Ruth: “It’s helped people tackle what can be sensitive conversations with more confidence – both patients and staff. And learning what good practice is from peers can be really revelatory and even better when you can then share these new ways of doing things with your colleagues.”

Patient with grandchildren

How would you sum up the ethos of The Lantern Model Programme and the difference it can make to an organisation?

Stephanie: “More than anything else, I think it’s about breaking down barriers in an organisation. Yes, it’s a nursing model, but it cuts across everything. What’s important to someone should matter to and be implemented by everyone across the Hospice. The Lantern Model enables a conversation to happen – between everyone. The focus on the nurses’ role helps start that conversation and they can then lead the change and join everyone together.”

Ruth says the model is now embedded in everything she and her colleagues do and implementing it is now detailed within job descriptions. She’ll be keeping in touch with colleagues from other Hospices and hospitals she’s met via the programme and is proud to be one of Hospice in the Weald’s Lantern Model Champions.

“We feel like we’ve been given permission to do the things we do with the added recognition that they are important.”

Look out for staff wearing the lantern flower badges and to find out more about the programme, contact:

Lantern Flower photograph courtesy of St Christopher’s.