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It’s ok to talk about death

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging as many people as possible to think about planning for death during Dying Matters Awareness Week.

 

“Death and bereavement are a natural part of everybody’s life cycle, and we are working to change peoples’ attitudes, behaviours and expectations towards death, dying and Bereavement” said Gina King, Clinical Facilitator for End of Life Care for Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

 

“As part of these initiatives, community nurses across the county are being invited to attend Continuing Professional Development sessions. We are also working with a range of people, from staff in GP surgeries and hospitals to school children, church groups and the Women’s Institute, to raise awareness of how we can all take steps to improve expectations around experiences of death and bereavement.”

 

The CCG is linking these activities to Dying Matters Awareness Week (13-19 May 2013), which is encouraging people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement.

 

The theme of the Week calls for people to ‘Be ready for it’, by taking five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These steps are to:

  • Make a will
  • Record your funeral wishes
  • Plan your future care and support
  • Register as an organ donor
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes

 

Dr Simon Smith, GP in Gloucester and Clinical Lead for End of Life Care at   Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

 

“Enabling all of us to have a dignified and comfortable death, in the place where we would prefer to be, should be the goal we all strive towards. Planning in advance to ensure this happens by the person themselves, their loved ones and professionals is paramount. I would encourage everyone to think personally about their own plans and wishes.”

 

Gloucestershire CCG has produced a range of resources to help people with the practicalities of recording and highlighting their wishes and preferences. These include an Advance Care Planning booklet, where people can record their wishes and share these with anyone involved in their care, and a number of information leaflets.

 

Gina said how important it is to encourage people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans with friends, family and loved ones: “Talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished and it will make it easier for your loved ones if they know you have had a ‘good death’.”

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