Amplifying end-of-life patient voices

Flinders University

Wednesday, 31 January, 2024

Amplifying end-of-life patient voices

More than 50% of Australians will spend their final moments in acute hospital settings. This creates a unique challenge for healthcare professionals when providing care to vulnerable people dealing with progressive serious illness.

A new video, created by the End-of-Life Essentials team at Flinders University, emphasises the importance of patient input when it comes to improving care at the end of life.

“The Patient’s Perspective tells the story of serious illness from a patient’s point of view to cast light on the profound impact that healthcare staff can have. It’s a poignant reminder of the effect that our interactions and work have on patients,” said Associate Professor Kim Devery, End-of-Life Essentials project lead.

“This animated video provides a moving narrative from the point of view of a courageous individual who has faced the challenges of serious illness. The patient recounts moments when she felt defined by her illness, which left her feeling vulnerable and disoriented. She also shares heartwarming instances when medical professionals took the time to genuinely connect with her, seeing her for who she truly is, beyond her illness.”

Devery believes the release of this new video marks an important call to action for healthcare professionals to embrace powerful patient-led messages to amplify best-practice care.

“The Patient’s Perspective video can help inform how to become better health professionals. It aims to shed light on the profound moments when healthcare staff authentically connect with their patients, reinforcing the humanity at the heart of healthcare,” Devery said.

Since its public launch on 11 October 2023, the video has received positive feedback. Julie McCrossin AM praised it as “the best video I have ever seen about the experience of receiving a cancer diagnosis and the value of kindness from healthcare professionals who see you as an individual and show appropriate care. I am a 10-year survivor of cancer, yet seeing this touched me deeply.”

It has also resonated with an international medical audience. “This powerful video authentically captures the patient’s voice, reminding us never to allow patienthood to eclipse personhood. Within the often frightening labyrinth of modern medicine, this message has never been more timely ... and one that needs to be heard,” said Distinguished Professor Harvey Max Chochinov, Senior Scientist with CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute, Canada.

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