Presented by: Klaus Wegleitner, Patrick Schuchter
Background & interest
Important pillars of health promoting palliative care are to raise public awareness about dying, death and loss as well as to share and impart knowledge about end-of life care to the broad population. This is intendent to enable prevention, communication about care at an early stage and to strengthen resilience in the community. Within the last few years in Germany (Bollig, Heller 2016) and Austria (Wegleitner et al. 2012) “last aid courses”, according to first aid courses, have been developed for the public. The four-part (3 hours per evening) last aid course “preventing, caring and a good life until the end” took place as part of the project “caring community in living and dying” in Landeck, an Austrian community. Following questions will be discussed: What are the courses approach and specific characteristics, also in comparison to ongoing course formats in Germany? How is the course embedded in a broader caring community project? Which benefit can be observed?
A transdisciplinary work group developed the course and actors of the local care network (informal and formal caregivers) hosted the four course modules. The documentation of qualitative feedbacks on the course evenings and an evaluation workshop with the course team form the database.
All four course modules have been conducted, designed in and moderated by representatives (hospice volunteers, coordinators of self-help groups, pastoral workers, home care nurses etc.) of the local care network. Module 1: Organizing and accepting help – take care of someone; module 2: Prevention, planning and decision making; module 3: Harm reduction – the last days and hours and module 4: Farewell, grief and regain vitality. In average 25-30 people, on the last evening 40 people, attended the course. The participants valued the course modules positively and reported that the course inspired them to set manifold helpful interventions in concrete care situations at home.
The public „last aid course“ had been established as a space in the community, where existential experiences are shared, information concerning end-of life care and dealing with death, dying and loss is given and the familiarity with informal and formal care resources is promoted. Evaluation has shown benefits for a) the participants (getting information, increasing of knowledge, feeling a bit safer in complex care situations, existential conversations, social support), for b) members of the course team (common understanding of the care culture, early contact with citizens, impulses for their care work) and c) for the local care network (knowing each other, better cooperation, integration of informal and formal care).
Bollig G, Heller A (2016). The last aid course – A Simple and Effective Concept to Teach the Public about Palliative Care and to Enhance the Public Discussion about Death and Dying. Austin Palliat Care; 1(2): 1010.
Wegleitner K, Heller A, Bollig G, Völkel M, Gröschel C, Wild M, Appel E, Gruber W. (2012). Leben und Helfen bis zuletzt – übers Sterben reden – ein Curriculum, um mit BürgerInnen vorsorgend über das Leben und Sterben ins Gespräch zu kommen. In: Wegleitner K., Heimerl K., Heller A. (Hrsg.). Zu Hause sterben – der Tod hält sich nicht an Dienstpläne. Hospizverlag Ludwigsburg: S. 452 – 461