Family Resilience Project Update

Posted by
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity
Posted on
3:30pm, 12th February
Lizzie Chambers, Richard Piper and Dr Kate Oulton

Together for Short Lives launch resource to help families and professionals approach conversations with young adults about the end of life.

In February 2014, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity selected thirteen organisations to take part in the Family Resilience Programme, with the aim of creating new ways to help whole families cope emotionally with a child that has a serious illness. 

A grant of £12,000 was awarded to Together for Short Lives, a charity that supports children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. They have been working in partnership with the National Council for Palliative Care to create a resource “Difficult Conversations – Making it easier to talk about end-of-life issues with young adults with life-limiting conditions” to help people talk about this difficult subject.

Today Together for Short Lives have launched their resource (available on their website), which will be helpful to parents and young people alike. They hope that it will empower parents and professionals to feel confident about approaching these difficult conversations with young adults. Talking about death remains a taboo subject but there is a hope that this resource will give parents and young people the confidence to talk about it openly.

Lucy Watts, a young adult with a life-limiting condition, said:

“Talking about the end of your life is never easy, however the sense of relief when we completed my end-of-life plan was huge. Now I have all my wishes down in writing, letting all professionals - as well as my family - know what I want, and that is so important. I became involved with the project to show how vital it is that we all make our wishes known, and for my experiences to inspire others to think about their wishes. I also wanted to show to professionals that there is no right way to broach the conversation, they need to be kind, sympathetic and supportive to make the conversation work and for the person to feel comfortable to open up and have their wishes and innermost thoughts put down on paper.”

Lizzie Chambers, Director & Executive Director of the UK Transition Taskforce from Together for Short Lives, (pictured left with Richard Piper, CEO and Dr Kate Oulton, Advisor of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity) said:

“We all find it hard to talk about dying. It is a difficult conversation yet such an important one to have, especially between young adults and their families, and those who care for them. Having that conversation allows young adults to express their final care needs, ensuring their wishes are met. We’re so grateful for everyone who helped us develop this resource, especially the young adults who took the time to speak with us on such sensitive matters. We hope that this booklet will help families and professionals open up and feel comfortable approaching future conversations.”

Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity are proud to be involved in this very important project and we look forward to finding out how useful this resource will be for young people and their families. 

More about the Family Resilience Programme