Embracing Life

Student reflections on death shine a light on end of life

This January Calvary Health Care Bethlehem (CHCB) launches “Embracing Life” an educative film resource to help educate and facilitate communities to talk openly about death and dying and better understand the issues faced by those at the end of their life.

School Health Promotion project “Embracing Life” aims to enable discussion by lessening community fear of death and dying.

The film will be freely available to schools and community groups. The aim is to help build the capacity of communities to talk about death and dying, loss and grief, so that those living with a terminal disease can be better supported.

Filmed with the participation of year 10 students from Sacred Heart Girl’s College in Oakleigh, the film features discussions with patients and staff and the reflections of the students.

View the full 12 minute video

The program has been evaluated by La Trobe University who found that it had a profoundly positive impact on the students involved. Participating students reported on the experience being transformative, nearly all of them saying that they felt more self-confident and more open minded after the experience. Students also reported having a deeper understanding of death and a heightened appreciation of life.

Already piloted in classrooms to 200 students, the evaluation found that the students who saw the film had as profound a response to it as those who visited the hospital.

The resource will be freely available for interested community organisations or schools who wish to integrate it into their curriculums from 2016. Alternatively we have trained staff and volunteers who are available to present the film and facilitate discussion.

Want to know more?

Calvary Health Care Bethlehem is a specialist sub-acute service in Victoria.  We are a State-wide provider and national leader in the provision of care for people with progressive neurological diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease (MND); and a leading specialist palliative care service.  Our service enables people to live well knowing that they have a progressive incurable illness, with care often provided early in the illness.  We support individuals and their families through the dying process in their preferred setting.

For more information or to arrange a facilitator, please contact Sam Kelly on 03 9595 3341.

About the project

“Embracing Life” is the product of an immersive project CHCB undertook with the school that saw 35 year 10 students visit the health service and engage with patients, carers and staff; processing their responses in group discussions and ultimately in an art exhibition and library tour. Their responses to this experience at the Health Service appear in this film.

“Embracing life” is the second school project that CHCB has engaged in in the last 5 years. The first, with ‘Our Lady of Sion’ in Box Hill resulted in the student production of a book “This Time and Place” that featured reflections and stories from patients, carers and staff and the 9 students involved.

Media Enquiries

For interviews, images and more information contact:

Sam Kelly

 03 9595 3341