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Hospice records patient life stories
St Leonard’s Hospice has teamed up with a national charity to offer patients the opportunity to make an audio recording of their biography to leave as a legacy for their families and friends.
Posted Oct 08

Hospice records patient life stories

Since November 2017, St Leonard’s has been working in partnership with the Hospice Biographers charity and now, in Hospice Care Week, the Hospice can announce that the service is officially up and running. A range of St Leonard’s staff and two volunteers undertook specialist training in June this year to enable them to work with patients to prepare and record their biography.

The Hospice Biographers charity knows how powerful the voice of a loved one can be, especially after they have gone, and especially when speaking directly about their life, experiences, challenges, achievements and the people they have cared most about. The recording is focused on what the patient wants; some people choose to be interviewed by their biographer, some prefer to plan and deliver their own thoughts without questions being asked, many wish to record specific messages for loved ones and family members.

Frances Pantin, Occupational Therapist, leads the hospice biography project at St Leonard’s and is a Hospice Biographer herself. She has seen interest in the new service grow very quickly, “Since recording our first biography in early July, we have recorded a patient’s biography every week and demand is growing. When we discuss hospice biographies with patients they usually start by saying that they’re just an ordinary person and don’t have anything interesting to record, but to us there is no such thing as an ordinary person. Every life is extraordinary and it is our privilege to work with people to record that”.

Patients are given the opportunity to give feedback after they have made their recording. All have said that they would recommend having an audio biography made to their friends and family. Their comments about the experience reflect not only the value of adding to the legacy that they can leave for their loved ones but also the significance to themselves of making the recording. In the words of hospice patient Ron Smith, “It’s an opportunity to complete the job. It’s given me a unique feeling. Superb!”