What is the Informed Guide?
A cornerstone of Hospice in the Weald’s fifth service, Cottage Hospice, the Informed Guide is there to empower those looking after their loved ones who are in their final days of life. The guide is there to lessen the anxiety of “I don’t know what to do”. It is presented as a suite of ‘pick up and put down’ materials presented in both video and written format.
We say ‘pick up and put down’ because the materials don’t have to be used from beginning to end, in one go. It’s not meant to be a training course, and it acknowledges that everyone learns in different ways. The idea is that you will be able to get straightforward, practical information, as and when you need it.
Who is the Guide for?
We use the term ‘Family Caregiver’ to describe the people who will be looking after their loved ones in the Cottage Hospice but the Informed Guide is full of really accessible and useful information and it can be used by anyone caring for someone at the end of their life, in their home, a hospital or hospice.
Why is it called the Informed Guide?
The title acknowledges that there is a lot of uncertainty at end of life, and that that uncertainty can lead to feelings of anxiety and worry. By helping family caregivers feel and be more ‘informed’ about what end of life can bring for our loved ones, and for those around them, we can reduce and balance that uncertainty. That uncertainty cannot be removed entirely but it can be managed.
How do I use the videos?
Everyone learns in different ways. Some people prefer a video but some like text – and some like both! The guidance in the video is just the same as what’s contained in the booklets and it’s in both formats to make it as accessible as possible for everyone.
When watching the video, you might want to watch it at home and then refer to the written guide while working at the Cottage Hospice. You might want to load the videos on to your tablet or laptop and refer to them while you’re at the Cottage Hospice.
The videos are available on the website, or on the DVD and USB stick in the front cover of this guide.
The guide is in three parts – how does this work in terms of guidance and information?
There's this introduction, then a section on caring for your loved one, and finally a section about family caregivers looking after themselves too.
Looking after yourself is important because you are less likely to care for your loved one well if you don’t care for yourself and get tired and stressed – sometimes your stress can affect your loved one.
How do you suggest patients and family caregivers use the Guide?
You can choose the way of using the advice and guidance which suits you best. Some people prefer to read, some prefer to watch. Some people will want to absorb and process the information in advance and some will prefer to consult the Informed Guide only as and when they need it.
Some family caregivers have already been practising care for their loved one in their own home so the guide will be filling in any gaps and providing reassurance that you are doing things in the best possible way. Whatever your approach, the Informed Guide can be used in a way that works best for you.
Don’t forget - volunteers will be on hand at Cottage Hospice to offer guidance, advice and help on all the topics covered by the Informed Guide.