The importance of planning exactly for when you die, so your wishes are adhered to, is the thinking behind Dying Matters Awareness Week.
In order to get people talking about what many consider a difficult subject, Croydon Council and Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is hosting a range of events between 18 and 24 May.
They will be assisted in getting the matter talked about freely by Croydon University Hospital and St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham.
Organised as part of the CCG’s and council’s agenda on end-of-life care, the week will encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement, and end-of-life issues.
The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 is Talk, Plan, Live –emphasising that people get only one chance to have their dying wishes adhered to, which is why it’s vital to talk, plan and make arrangements while the opportunity exists.
The programme will encourage members of the public to take the following five simple steps to make their end-of-life experience better, both for themselves and loved ones.
- Write your will.
- Record your funeral wishes.
- Plan your future care and support.
- Consider registering as an organ donor.
- Tell your loved ones your wishes.
Activities planned for the week include a talk to all members of staff about dying by St Christopher’s, the local hospice; publicity stands on the subject in local hospitals, the council and CCG rest areas and handing-out of information leaflets in the town centre.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for people and communities, said: “Most people probably find talking about death and bereavement to be one of the most difficult and emotional of subjects.
“Difficult as it may be, however, it’s important that the wishes of the individual are discussed and set out so that relatives and friends understand what’s wanted.
“The five steps outlined by Dying Matters are a great way to start, and many may find they act as a springboard to a wider discussion – and a more reassuring outcome for all concerned.”
Dr Camilla Chambers, NHS Croydon CCG’s clinical lead for end-of-life care and local GP in Croydon, said: “We know it’s hard to talk with our family and friends about dying.
“It is important that we plan and share our wishes with those closest to us to ensure that we get the care and support we want at the end of our lives.”
Research for Dying Matters has found that many people have specific wishes about their end-of-life care, or what they would like to happen to them after their death. However, a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that those wishes will be met.
There is a major mismatch between people’s preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death. For example, 70% of people would prefer to die at home, but about half currently die in hospital.