44 year old Hospice patient empowered to record and share his life story

  • 26 April 2023

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Male with cap looking at the camera

Whilst he was in the Inpatient Unit, Bernie Michell, aged 44, from Rampton in Cambridgeshire, chatted to Faith about life’s challenges and identified that one of his goals was to create a video of his life, which could be shared with his family.

Patients at the Hospice have the opportunity to join creative therapy sessions, which allows them to discover a new talent, enjoy a long-forgotten hobby or leave something for their family, as well as accessing the specialist team, who can provide support to help manage symptoms.

Life Celebration and Creative Activities Coordinator, Faith Macrow explained:

“We encourage patients to talk about their lives and explore ways in which they might like to leave something which celebrates life-moments, for family or loved ones. Using the camera we make patient videos, messages, videos of creative family sessions and family films set to music, that patients choose. “

With thanks to a generous supporter who funded a large hybrid screen and equipment during Covid-19 to enable staff to stay in touch with patients, Bernie’s video story was played to staff and patients during the Wellbeing group session at the Living Well Service at the Hospice in February 2023. Following this, fluid discussions, about a variety of subjects, including planning at the end of life, living with a palliative care condition and experiences of care in clinical settings and at the Hospice, took place with patients and staff. Some of the positives that came out of those shared conversations included hope, how faith can be helpful to some patients and living life to the full, despite limitations that palliative conditions create.  Patients were also inspired to record their own life stories too.

Faith added:

“Thank you to Bernie for sharing his life story on the big screen and inspiring others. I would also like to say thank you to our wonderful and committed volunteer, Jordan, who spends much time editing these videos for patients and families – his input is invaluable. He has worked hard on both Bernie’s and many other family videos and is a great example of just one of our many unseen hospice volunteers, who play such a valuable role in making every moment count for our patients”

Bernie said:

“My family are very supportive as they feel my story could inspire others with difficult situations in their life.”

Taking inspiration from this, Bernie hasn’t stopped there and is in the middle of writing a book about his life story to accompany the video, which he plans to release later this year.

Bernie added:

“I always remembered something my father once said to me  ‘Life is like a game of cards. No matter how bad your hand is that you have been dealt, it’s about how you play that hand that counts!”

You can read more about Bernie’s life story here: arhc.org.uk/supporting-you/personal-stories/detail/bernies-story and you can find out more from Bernie as he posts weekly videos on the Instagram page dying_live on living with a terminal diagnosis.

You can find out more about Life Celebration Work and download 51 questions to start life story work on the webpage: arhc.org.uk/supporting-you/care-services/living-well/life-celebration-work-and-creative-activities/