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Posted 8 Nov 2016 in Patient Safety Week

Sparking up a conversation about end-of-life care is hard to do.

But the Taranaki District Health Board (DHB) has set up a new 'Let's Talk' pop up tea shop in a bid to help make it easier. It took it to rest homes in the region to support the 'Let's Talk' Patient Safety Week last week.

This year Patient Safety Week aimed to encourage discussions between DHB staff, patients, and family, about their health care, falls prevention, their health care and advanced care planning (ACP).

'We don't like talking about death and dying and we don't like talking about our last days,' ACP facilitator Claudia Matthews said. 'We are trying to open that up and say it is OK to talk about it.

'ACP is not just for the elderly, it is for everyone, but we wanted to get the message out to rest home workers because they already have a good rapport with residents,' she said.

Matthews said the plan was to educate them, so they could bring it back to their residents.'From those discussions the aim is a written plan.'

The shop's first stop was Kohatu Rest home in Waitara, where its residents and staff enjoyed the order of the day – a cup of of tea and a friendly chat.

'I think it is really quite special because sometimes you have the DHB quite separate to the rest home people,' Kohatu manager Sandra Heal said.

'It is good to raise awareness and be prepared with strategies in place for interventions and things like that.'

Sociable resident Herb Pedly said he may have had one too many cuppas because he enjoyed meeting the DHB 'girls'.

'One always hopes it won't happen, but there is no doubt that it can,' Pedly, who has not long hit 90, said.

He has had a couple of falls, but nothing too serious, and agreed that if it had been more serious and he could not speak for himself, he would have liked to have had an ACP plan in place.

Matthews said ACP gives everyone an opportunity to voice what is important to them, in terms of what treatment want, what they or would not prefer.

It helps them, their families and healthcare professionals plan for their end of life care, if and when they might need it, if they are unable to communicate it.