Message of the Management Committee 2018
Summary of the highlights and challenges in 2018
Since 2011 La Maison de Tara has been working to create a supportive community in Geneva for people at the end of life and their loved ones. Our many well-trained volunteers are the pillars of this community. They are Geneva citizens who have developed not only the skills and practical knowledge needed for their commitment to Tara but also, in the wider sense, to the society in which they live.
In order to strengthen this fundamental volunteer pillar, in 2018 we decided to intensify our recruitement activities with two main aims: naturally, the first was to ensure adequate volunteer coverage for the hospice in the years to come, but equally important, was to serve the community through the training of future caregivers.
2018 was the year when we truly identified the huge gift of time that our volunteers make to the hospice: 39,000 hours per year.
As part of the more active recruitment process we decided to approach directly a variety of organisations, commercial enterprises, legal firms, and other participants in the Geneva economy. This enables us to make the work of La Maison de Tara more widely known and to highlight to employers their responsability to society and the advantage of having staff who are trained in ‘savoir-être’. Indeed, the qualities of empathy and emotional intelligence acquired are of daily value both to employers and employees in the professional and private sphere. This new approach is beginning to bear fruit and we have been very pleased to find that the organizations have been very open to our proposals.
This more proactive approach fits perfectly into the reorientation of our fund-raising strategy which highlights our educational mission and has already been successful.
The repositioning of our double mission of accompagnying persons at the end of life and the training of volunteers/care-givers has led to significant support from new donors, as well as additional support from those of long-standing.
In June 2018 the Television Suisse Romande, in its programme 36,9°, dedicated a superb report on our work which had a positive and rapid impact on the number of new volunteers. And during the year, within the framework of continuing education of our salaried and voluntary personnel, we had the privilege to benefit from the knowledge and advice of two specialists in the area of palliative care.
Firstly, Dr Christophe Fauré led two days at Webster University on the theme: Living bereavement from day to day – understanding how to better accompany. Dr Fauré, a highly reputed psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has practised palliative care in Paris for the last 25 years, is regarded as a reference expert in bereavement and personal tragedy.
Four times during the year we welcomed visitors wishing to learn more about La Maison de Tara with the aim of duplicating its model in Switzerland and elsewhere. Two such visitors
decided to follow the volunteer training programme in order to absorb the spirit and ethos of the hospice.
For the first time, a student from the neighbouring Ecole Moser undertook a graduation study of the hospice, after spending many Saturdays as a volunteer during the 2017/18 scholastic year.This 17-year-old student accomplished extraordinary work both with her written report and her volunteer activities.
Following the presentation of a poster on Areas of volunteer discomfort at La Maison de Tara during the 4th International Francophone Conference of Palliative Care in Geneva 2017, one of our volunteers was invited to present the same theme at the 11th Journée Lorraine de soins palliatifs in France.
And then in November, the Présidente was invited to speak on the role of volunteers in palliative care during the International Symposium of Experts on Palliative Care organized by the French Ministry of Health in Paris.
In summary, 2018 saw a major effort to promote the sustainability not only of the financial situation of La Maison de Tara but also the flow of trained volunteers. In 2019, we will continue to maintain a particular focus on these critical aspects so that the hospice can become a model which could be followed in Geneva and elsewhere in Switzerland. In this way, we can facilitate other « communities of support » to see the light of day and to embody social solidarity for the benefit of increasing numbers of people.
Translation from the 2018 Annual Report