One Chance to Get it Right

The report from 'Dying without dignity: Investigations by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into complaints about end of life care' came out last week. Seven case accounts are given of people who met their death in ways that are not what they wanted. It is heart-breaking. But this is an important report: and the NHS needs to face the challenges it sets.

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Making a Difference

I showed 30 minutes of the film today to a rather intimidating group of people – leaders in palliative medicine across the UK, who had assembled at 8 am to watch what we have done in Strathcarron Hospice. It seemed a bit early in the day. “We’ve seen thousands of films on hospice care,” they said. Gulp. Maybe they hadn’t had breakfast.

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We are nearly there!

I was delighted when Mark Orton, composer of Nebraska (multiple Academy Nominations), agreed to score the film (we are calling it, rather unimaginatively, Singing Hospice – anyone any better ideas?).

I heard Mark’s music on a film called Joe Papp, a life in five acts, about the legendary NY. It was the best music score for a documentary I had ever heard. The film’s director, Tracie Holder, put me in touch with Mark who saw an early assembly of Singing Hospice and said he loved it. 

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Movie-making as palliative care

Hilary Brooks (amazing singing coach, see earlier blog) and I did a talk at Edinburgh University School of public health today.  Hilary talked about  how she had realized early on that music was the currency at Strathcarron, and how each patient was different in their relationship to music.

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Star Quality

Hilary Brooks is the woman who I brought into Strathcarron Hospice to bring out the star quality of the amazing singers I am filming. It certainly raised my credibility raising – Hilary has coached Billy Boyd, Una Maclean, Elaine C Smith and Barbara Rafferty (you may have seen them in Lord of the Rings, or The Last King of Scotland), but she is also the most down to earth person you could find.

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Seasonal Energy and Vitality

A first glimpse at Amy Hardie's upcoming film was offered last week at a palliative care conference.

Dr Erna Haraldsdottir who is Head of Education at Strathcarron Hospice shares what happened:

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