Supporting family carers of people with a serious, life-limiting illness

In November, St Christopher’s, with assistance from Animas, facilitated its first 3-day coaching training for 10 local people who have had the personal experience of caring for a loved one as they approached the end of life.

This marked the beginning of the testing phase of a new prototype, known as ‘Coach4Care,’ which aims to better support family carers of people with a serious, life-limiting illness. Our aim is to roll this innovative approach out more widely, after testing has been completed.

Ella Walding (fourth from the right) from the Innovation Unit, led on the design in partnership with St Christopher’s, as part of a national programme called Better Endings. The design involved both carers and professionals. Coach4Care offers an interesting and new approach to drawing on the experience and expertise of past carers to support those presently coping with the challenges of being a carer.

Coach4Care Pioneers

All 10 coaches have suffered a bereavement in the past few years but want their experience to benefit someone who is currently going through something similar. However, whilst learning how to utilise professional coaching tools and techniques to empower existing carers, it was clear that the coaches were also gaining personal insight and encouragement to support them on their own grief journeys.

Coaching training and supervision will be ongoing as Anna Warhurst (crouching at the front of the photo) our Coach4Care Lead, will not only coordinate recruitment and matching of coaches to carers but also organise regular ‘Leaning Lunches’ where additional tools can be introduced and learning reinforced. Anna and a steering group of professionals from St Christopher’s and Animas, will be available throughout to support and advise both coaches and carers.


Written by

Liz Bryan


21, November 2018


About the Author

Liz Bryan

Liz Bryan

Director of Education and Training, St Christopher's Hospice

Liz Bryan has a background in palliative care nursing, counselling psychotherapy, inter-professional education and education evaluation. For 12 years she lectured part-time at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, supporting the delivery of evidence-based palliative and end of life care academic education. Liz is leading the Education team as St Christopher’s builds a new education building and launches the Learning Hub. As Director of Education and Training at St Christopher’s, Liz is committed to driving the national development of hospice-based education and training. Her particular focus is on designing and evaluating programmes of learning that have sustained impact on practice. She also believes in the importance of consistency and quality of accredited work-based training for the generalist workforce, who provide the bulk of formal care to people approaching the end of life. However, Liz is determined to ensure that the Learning Hub will also make understanding and skills more accessible to those informal carers (relatives and neighbours) without whom people facing the end of life would not be able to live in the place of their choice.

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