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Anna Chaplaincy Partnership

Posted on 8th May 2018

Working with Local Hospices in Supporting People with Dementia

A new and innovative partnership with Heart of Kent Hospice in Aylesford is being developed by the Diocese of Rochester’s pioneering Anna Chaplaincy team to broaden the spiritual care available to the Hospice’s patients and their families.

The Hospice provides an award-winning specialist service, supporting people with dementia from the point of their diagnosis, right through to the end of their lives; walking alongside families on what can be a long and difficult journey.

Plans are unfolding for an Anna Chaplaincy team to be based in Aylesford Parish which will work in close partnership with the Hospice, where their Specialist Dementia Nurses have over 200 people with dementia on their caseload. Where spiritual care is needed, the Anna Chaplaincy team will respond, linking individuals with their local churches where appropriate.

The Hospice already holds a monthly Dementia Café at which Anna Chaplaincy support is offered. This move extends and enhances this support. Volunteer Chaplain, Rev Colin Terry, will pioneer this new model of Anna Chaplaincy alongside the Hospice.

Beverly Hodson, Head of Family Support & Living Well at Heart of Kent Hospice explains “Our care encompasses all aspects of a patient’s life, physical, psychological, spiritual and social - this is why we are so excited to be working in partnership with local churches and the Anna Chaplains.”

Julia Burton-Jones, Diocesan Dementia Specialist Project Officer, said that the partnership is a sign of the increasing recognition among Anna Chaplains and their parishes of how being diagnosed with a degenerative brain condition like dementia brings up questions about death and dying: “In Anna Chaplaincy ministry we recognise that while most people die with dementia and not from it, end of life planning is important in the context of a condition which affects the ability to make choices and decisions. She continued: “We’re therefore always trying to think creatively about ways to support older people and people with dementia in talking about death and dying, and this new partnership is very welcome extension to the support we can give.” Beverly added “This is an innovative example of how local collaboration and can improve lives for our patients and their carers.”

A presentation and information stand about the Dying Matters campaign will be hosted by the Anna Chaplaincy team at an event with Medway Dementia Action Alliance for Dementia Action Week to encourage conversations about death and dying. This will be held at Rochester Cathedral on 30 May. More information will available via the Diocesan website soon.

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