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A dignified farewell

Uniting Farmborough Unanderra memorial program has won a prestigious aged care industry award for their farewell program. Representatives of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will present the Better Practice Award for the Dignified Farewell and Memorial to staff and residents on Thursday, 17 March at Uniting Farmborough, Unanderra.

The memorial program helps residents and staff deal more openly with the often sensitive but ever-present issue of death. The conventional approach to death in nursing homes is to remove the deceased’s body quickly, with little or no communication to other residents.

Farmborough staff are doing things differently. Service Manager Jill Harvey said the Dignified Farewell and Memorial Project challenges the way things are usually done by honouring and giving farewell and tributes to residents who have passed. “Our farewell gives residents, staff and family members the time to pay their respects and gain closure – everyone should be acknowledged and given a dignified farewell.

“At Farmborough, when a resident dies everyone has the opportunity to say their goodbyes. We form a guard of honour with staff and family members, as the deceased is taken out the front door. We play music, a ceremonial quilt is placed on the body, and we set up a memorial table in honour of their life,” Ms Harvey said.

One staff member said, “I have always loved the thought of taking a moment to remember those who have passed. The memorial table has provided a respectful way to do this.”

After one resident, Iris, who was farewelled recently, their family commented, “The guard of honour you provided for Iris as she departed was greatly appreciated by all the family. It was a perfect gesture to her.”

A volunteer at the nursing home said the memorial table helped her to “prepare for meetings and conversations during the day, deal with possible grief and acknowledge those who had passed away”.

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To find out more about our aged care services, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org. We'd love to hear from you.