For young people with life-limiting conditions moving into adult palliative care services can seem like a daunting prospect. But those who are making the transition in Walsall could find it a much less worrying move thanks to a special film starring service users themselves.
Walsall Palliative Care Centre has worked with young people who use the Fair Oaks Day Hospice to make the film which features a day in the life of 26-year-old Zak Begum – with a little help from her friends!
The film was showcased at a special premiere evening at the centre last month and is now available for young people, their families and carers to gain an insight into the support that is available.
Zak, of Palfrey, has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic muscle-wasting condition, and as a child she used the services provided by Acorns Children’s Hospice.
“I was a bit worried about moving into adult services because I wondered if I’d make new friends but I have built up some really good relationships with people at Fair Oaks and I needn’t have worried,” she said.
“I was a bit nervous about making the film but then I really got into it and I’m pleased with how it has turned out. I know some young people are worried about looking round the centre and the day hospice and this film shows them what a great place it is. I am involved in all the decisions made around my treatment and care and I feel really supported.”
The film shows Zak socialising with other patients and enjoying some relaxing complementary therapies as well as exploring her creative side through art work. Zak is also featured discussing her Advanced Care Plan which records her wishes about her future care.
It shows the community palliative care nurses visiting Clare Colman, 40, at her Blakenall home. Clare has Multiple Sclerosis and is a proud grandmother.
“I come to Fair Oaks Day Hospice every Friday and really like it. People are so friendly and I look forward to coming. Meeting Zak has been good too!”
Jamie Hopson, who has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, is another of the film’s stars.
The 18-year-old, who loves playing on his xbox, said; “I like coming to the centre to mix with people. I think the film is good because it shows you what to expect.”
Dr Radka Klezlova, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, said everyone who had helped make the film had been “fantastic.”
“Special thanks goes to Zak as the main star but everyone who has contributed to the film has been fantastic,” she said.
“They have played an important part in helping us reach out to young people who may, understandably, be anxious about making the move into adult services. We believe the film captures the friendly atmosphere here at the centre and illustrates how involved young people are in their care and treatment. We hope it will reassure young people, their families and carers but are only ever a phone call or visit away if people want to discuss anything else with us.”
The film, made by Ade Marsh Photography, can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2GneXGbO18
For more information about the services provided at Walsall Palliative Care Centre, or to arrange a visit, please contact 0800 783 9050.