The work of healthcare professionals is critical to achieving high quality cancer outcomes. This award is given to a healthcare professional who has made a significant contribution to improving the care of cancer patients.
The Acorn Approach, Oakhaven Hospice/Macmillan Cancer Support
The End of Life Care Strategy (DH, 2008) identified the important role that hospices play within health promotion and public education to raise awareness around the issues of death and dying. Prompted by this, Oakhaven Hospice began looking at ways to address these topics.
Inspired by St Christopher’s Hospice’s original art project, Oakhaven appointed Jan Temenos as project co-ordinator, to lead a team of staff and volunteers in their work. The Acorn Approach has been taken forward by Jan’s incredible vision and skill, supported by the enthusiasm of the team and further endorsed by support from Macmillan Cancer Support.
Jan has helped to grow the team in number since its inception; and there is consistent evidence of how the team works together interdependently and cooperatively to achieve its goals. The coming together of hospice and schools means that pupils, teachers, patients, carers, hospice staff and volunteers as a team produce tangible and creative outcomes.
Bespoke projects are created for schools to support and underpin work on the National Curriculum, while also exploring and addressing the myths and fears surrounding death, dying and bereavement.
Children and patients form strong bonds and we witness a mutual exchange of wisdom, empathy and friendship. Patients feel validated by their experiences as important members of the Acorn team. Projects are reviewed and evaluated – these outputs are then used to inform future projects.
There are times of sadness and poignancy but the focus is on fun and the hospice is filled with laughter. There is a fantastic ‘ripple effect’ surrounding this work as children go home to their families and share what they have learnt. Acorn supports children and patients alike and is proof that the whole is more than the sum of its parts! At Oakhaven they are proud of all that Acorn has achieved.