Dying matters – Let’s talk about it!

Thursday, 4 May 2017 – Nursing
Dying matters – Let’s talk about it!

During Dying Matters Awareness Week (8–14 May 2017) the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging everyone to take the opportunity to talk openly with those closest to them about their wishes about their future care, dying, death and bereavement.

This year’s theme is ‘What Can You Do’, as it challenges people to do something practical. This might be something for themselves, like making a will, or something for someone else who is bereaved, or caring for a dying relative.

Corrina Grimes, Allied Health Professions Consultant at the PHA, said: “We are encouraging the public to talk to each other about dying, death and bereavement, because talking about dying won't make it happen!

“Many of us have specific wishes about how and where we would like to die and what we would like to happen after our death. However, we sometimes don’t like to talk about our wishes and thoughts about death and dying, perhaps due to fear of the subject or concern that we may upset our family or friends.

“The reality is, however, that if we don’t have these types of conversations it can mean that people’s wishes go unfulfilled and families may struggle to make decisions. There may be important matters you want to address now rather than when time feels limited.”

Some simple steps that you can take to make your end of life experience better, both for yourself and for your loved ones, are:

  1. Make a will;
  2. Record your funeral wishes;
  3. Plan your future care and support;
  4. Register as an organ donor;
  5. Tell your loved ones your wishes.

Corrina continued: “We want to get as many people as possible thinking, talking and acting during Dying Matters Awareness Week.

“Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone’s interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, and where we want it, at the end of our lives.

“Even just having a chat with family, friends or colleagues about the importance of preparing for death can change perceptions. Through being more confident in talking about dying and taking small actions to plan for the future and support each other, together we can make a big difference. Talking about death does not bring it any closer. It is about planning for life.”