Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust's online course, Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds It’s about getting to the root of things. And if you don’t ask, and you don’t put the time in, and you don’t sometimes sit for a long period in silence, you’re not going to find out these things that make people tick, the things that are most important to them. Yeah. What I always like to say, and it seems strange, but there’s obviously– there’s a list of criteria based on eligibility that I have to retain when I’m doing these assessments. But at the end I always like to say, is there any questions that you want to ask me? Or is there anything else that you’re worried about?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds And usually when I ask that, there’ll be something completely that we knew nothing about, that was worrying them, or was risky and they’ll just tell me.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second But you’ve got to put the work in to get that. People don’t realise if a stranger comes up to you and starts asking your personal questions, why would you want to tell a stranger these intimate details about your life? You’ve got to build a bit of a relationship first– Sure. –to have a genuine impact on people.

Making space: how the most important things emerge unexpectedly

In the final step of this activity, continuing with our aim of applying what we’ve learned to real world examples, Sharna describes what having hard conversations with patients looks and feels like, and how important preoccupations in the lives of dying patients come to light unexpectedly, but only in the context of a trusting relationship.

Often this involves moving into unknown territory while remaining curious. This may feel like a change of gear in a working environment where time can be seen as something to fill with tasks. Indeed, filling instead of making space can be tempting when we are in the terrain of emotionally upsetting topics like loss and dying.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: