Hospice New Zealand

Speaker spotlight - Max Watson

Max Watson.jpgAhead of Conference 2018 we had a chat to Max about his session as keynote speaker, this is what he shared with us. 

What does the concept of resilience mean to you when thinking about end of life care?

The increased emphasis on resilience has been an important counterbalance to the previous lack of recognition on the impact for patients, staff and families of living with dying. While a useful concept it can become yet another “thing” we can beat ourselves up about if we are unable to generate enough individualised  resilience for our current situations. Like with diets and exercise most of us know the things that we should do to encourage our own resilience, but the nature of our busy lives, and the day to day demands particularly at the times when we need to be most resilient lead to us feeling that we lack resilience. Resilience is not a finite nirvana state. Indeed it is often when we are most under pressure that we discover that our resilience is growing fastest.

Our patients teach us that we all have the capacity within to deal with the most horrendous things, and that we all can also be broken by what others could regard as trivial.

Having confidence that our patients have the capacity to deal with difficult things without our clinical or psychological interventions can be transformative in helping patients realise strength from within which has often been honed by previous life experiences.

In addition realising that resilience is not just a personal quality but is a characteristic of families, communities and organisations is particularly important for those providing end of life care. By collectively facing the reality that life is often hard in the context of an organisational commitment to ongoing resilience enhancing activities can encourage resilient behaviours which can be better sustained than the resilience of any individual facing persisting suffering.

In your experience what factors influence a good end of life journey for patients and families?

I think people often die the way they have lived. Living a life where there has been love and communication and a sense of value and meaning provides much of what is needed to deal with the process of dying. The skills for living well have much in common with the skills of dying well

Thinking about your presentation, what do you plan on sharing with delegates, what can they expect to hear from your session?

Hospice UK has recently created its 5 year strategy, I would like to share that strategy and the reasons behind it and how we are setting about trying to achieve

In terms of the Education slot. I would hope to share something of the work of Project ECHO in using video conferencing to help build communities of practice, leverage specialist knowledge, and mentor and support those working in isolated situations.

You may have noticed that our vision is Living Every moment – what does this mean to you?

This means listening to me. If I am to live every moment I need to be open to what that moment might have for me, which means developing an open and listening attitude to life and to other people so that I can be available for all that life can teach, not just to what I think it should teach.

You've visited NZ before, what did you enjoy about your previous visit? 

I really appreciated the egalitarian nature of the society, the strong sense of community illustrated by neighbours coming over to cut up our logs for the day, and the beauty of your Register now 2018.jpgcountry.

When you are travelling around the world – what are three things we would always find in your suitcase?

Wire. I am a gadget person and never have enough wire to connect various gizmos.

A mac laptop – It is a constant companion since my sons converted me 15 years ago

A pair of trainers as I like to think I would run my 3K a day when travelling. Usually all the exercise I get from bringing them is from carrying them around the world.

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