The Acorn Project: a healthy approach to long term illness and palliative care.
Bringing schools and local hospices together is helping to raise awareness of palliative care in the community.
The ‘Acorn Project’ based at Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington is a project aimed at working with patients and within schools and local communities to raise awareness of living with long term illness, palliative care and issues around death and dying.
All of these topics are an important part of the national curriculum. These are challenging subjects that many schools and colleges find difficult to teach. With this in mind, Oakhaven Hospice has been exploring ways to address important topics surrounding long term illness with local children and young adults. It has proved to be extremely enjoyable and effective for everyone involved.
The Acorn Project, which was inspired by a similar model at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, was started in 2010. Its aim was to create links between the Hospice and local schools in keeping with the End of Life Care Strategy which promotes a good understanding of palliative care by encouraging thought and discussion around the subject of death and dying. It also looks at the ways in which society views death and dying and how that can contribute to the experiences of people receiving end of life care, as well as to the experiences of their carers. It calls for both national and local action to promote public awareness and change attitudes to death and dying
The Acorn project offers an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the hospice through the eyes of children. It also works extremely well in giving patients and carers space to talk about their very personal experiences. Many of the children involved may have been touched by a family member who has a life threatening illness or have died and the Acorn approach has helped immensely to address important surrounding issues.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Acorn Project please contact Jane Askham at firstname.lastname@example.org