As part of the annual Dying Matters Awareness Week (13-19 May), Southend, Castle Point and Rochford residents are being encouraged to talk about their end of life wishes by NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).
This could include such things as what they want to have achieved during the course of their lives, to what colours should be worn at their funeral.
This year’s theme is ‘Are We Ready?’ and the campaign aims to break down the fear and taboo associated with death, dying and bereavement and get people talking more openly. The campaign will also be supported on social media using #DyingMatters and #AreWeReady?
Five key steps to being prepared for end of life wishes to be fulfilled have been identified:
Make a will
Record your funeral wishes
Plan your future care and support
Register as an organ donor
Tell your loved ones your wishes
In Essex, there has been lots of work going on to support people at the end of life or those with life limiting conditions to be able to talk about dying and make plans for their care.
Talking about dying may not always be easy, but it can help people to make the most of life and to support those they care about. Individuals have a right to say how they want to be cared for in their last days. Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing and don’t be afraid of discussing it with friends, family, a GP or other healthcare professional.
Live with peace of mind by taking the initiative and making any wishes known. This can make a real difference to the lives of close loved ones by planning ahead and sparing them from having to make difficult decisions after death.
It is important people discuss their wishes and are not afraid of doing so. Talking about dying doesn’t bring it any closer but having that big conversation can help to make the most of life until the very end.
There will be an opportunity to find out more and ask questions to clinical professionals on Monday, 13 May at the Royal Shopping Centre in Southend 9am – 5pm. There will be a doctor, palliative care nurses, a paralegal and a funeral director manning the display in addition to other staff so people can ask advice face to face.
Additionally, on Wednesday, 15 May a live virtual Death Café will be hosted on the Southend CCG Facebook page between 10.30 and 11.30 (www.facebook.com/southendccg). Just ‘like’ the page to be able to see and join in the event.
A virtual Death Cafe is a group-directed discussion about death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session giving people the chance to discuss death.
The purpose of virtual Death Cafes is that there is no agenda so things discussed are whatever the members want them to be. Members are welcome to talk about whatever they want in relation to death and dying so long as everyone remains respectful of the views of others.
Tricia D’Orsi, NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG Chief Nurse said:
“As a society, we need to talk more about dying and death and, as individuals, we all need to have a conversation about our end of life choices and wishes with our family, friends and loved ones. I hope that through this awareness week, people find a way to talk about dying without it being taboo”.