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Diagnosis, death and grief the subject of thought-provoking plays to be staged by Highland Hospice and the UHI to help people broach difficult subject


By Ian Duncan

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Highland Hospice's Siobhan Neylon (left) and UHI's programme leader for drama Lesley Mickel. Picture: James Mackenzie
Highland Hospice's Siobhan Neylon (left) and UHI's programme leader for drama Lesley Mickel. Picture: James Mackenzie

Two thought-provoking online performances will take place next month which are aimed at starting conversations around diagnosis, death and grief.

They have been organised by Highland Hospice and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and will start at 6pm on May 25, via Zoom.

Homeward Bound and Hospice: A Love Story are two powerful plays described as a creative and valuable educational resource that help to open up important conversations about death and dying and shed light on the human impact receiving a terminal diagnosis can have on a family.

Homeward Bound is a play based on the true story of Seth and Lesley Goodburn and the 33 short and heartbreaking days from Seth’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer to his death.

Originally written as a play in 2016, and developed by the National Council for Palliative Care and Pancreatic Cancer UK to help improve end-of-life care, it is now widely recognised as a valuable educational resource for healthcare professionals.

Hospice: A Love Story is a play written and based on the experiences of Elizabeth Coplan – founder and chief playwright for Grief Dialogues Health Care Education in the US. It focuses on death and all its complications and tells the poignant story of a crisis between two sisters trying to come to terms with the death of their mother from cancer.

The performances are being brought to life by UHI drama students Sophie Wink and Luke Carmichael.

Siobhan Neylon, clinical education and development leader for Highland Hospice, said: “We’re always seeking out new and innovative ways to share our knowledge and expertise to help improve palliative and end-of-life care for patients and carers.

“We’re committed to engaging and reaching as many people as possible and working with our partners at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, Grief Dialogues Health Care Education and Inverness College UHI on this project is a real privilege.

“We’re excited to be bringing education alive creatively through these live performances and hope people find them a valuable educational resource.”

Anyone working in health and social care, as well as patients and carers, are invited to watch the performances.

There will be an online discussion as well as a question and answer session featuring Lesley Goodburn and Elizabeth Coplan following the plays.

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