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Staff and volunteers explore interviewing techniques

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Staff and volunteers explore interviewing techniques

An exciting step in the Hospice’s Listen Learn Adapt process was taken last Friday (26 May).

Livework, the service design company who are helping us with this process, have now provided training in interviewing techniques to a group of 20 staff and volunteers.

The training, which focused on how to conduct in-depth interviews, will be used as we start the fieldwork phase of the Listen Learn Adapt process which will see staff and volunteers asking our community about their experiences of life-limiting illnesses, dying, death and bereavement.

The work session provided an overview of how to conduct in-depth interviews, as well as helpful tips.

During the session attendees were encouraged to think about the practical elements of conducting an interview.  For example – what socks am I wearing? During this process interviewers will be going into people’s homes and might have to take their shoes off, would they be comfortable doing that?

When considering what time to arrive is five minutes early always the best option? Perhaps not, while the need to leave enough time to get to the interview on time is necessary – sometimes turning up five minutes can unsettle the interviewee.

They types of questions which will be asked were also discussed. To help ensure the services the Hospice provides responds to the community’s needs the answers those we are speaking to need to be honest, and the questions they are asked cannot be leading.

During the work session the group were encouraged to rephrase leading questions and turn them into more open ones so as not to influence the answer. Then working in pairs everyone had the chance to test out their interview skills.

Although around 20 of our people have been trained, only a small number of interviewers will be used during this phase of the service redesign project.  However, the skills gained by all of our people during the work session will be used later.

Next steps

Working in pairs the group of eight will be speaking to those who have experienced end-of-life care either as a patient, a family member or carer as well as those who have been bereaved. The people spoken to will be people who have used Hospice services as well as those who have not – so a complete picture of peoples’ views and experiences can be created.

By starting from a position of empathy our interviewers will be seeking to gain a deep understanding of individual’s experiences, their emotions and opinions  By being open and letting the conversations flow naturally interviewers will have the time and space to explore what really matters to the person they are speaking to.

Livework will be talking to some of the professionals and partners we work with about their experiences. This group will include: staff from West Suffolk Hospital, the CCG, GPs, district nurses and all those who may refer people to Hospice services.

Though all of these conversations it is hoped a wealth of knowledge and insights will be gained which will allow for the development of the Hospice’s services to enable a care model which is flexible and focussed on the needs of the community to be established.