Saying the unsayable – let’s talk about death

Next week (14-20 May) is Dying Matters Awareness Week and on Monday palliative care nurses from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are joining forces with end-of-life care facilitators from across East Anglia to set up a stall in The Forum and encourage discussion about the whole issue of death and dying.

The entire Norwich City Football team have signed a pennant in support of their campaign, “Small Actions: Big Difference”.

“People tend to shy away from talking about death but isn’t it time we got rid of this taboo?” says specialist palliative care nurse Emma Harris, who is also a facilitator for end-of-life care for the East of England. “Most of us consider it important to prepare for a birth but very few plan for end-of-life care, even though death is just as inevitable. Why is this? We all deserve to die well and we only get one chance to get end-of-life care right.”

Members of the public are being urged to take “small actions” that will make a big difference, such as completing an Advance Care Plan to explore their thoughts and wishes around issues such as resuscitation and where they would like to die when the time comes, eg hospital versus home.

Other actions include making a will, deciding on a funeral plan and sharing your wishes with your nearest and dearest.

“Small actions” for other people could also make a difference, such as visiting someone who has recently been bereaved or offering practical help to carers looking after dying patients

“It's important for all of us to make our wishes known before it’s too late,” says Emma. “We also want to educate all health professionals so they feel confident about looking after patients and their families at this difficult time.”

Notes for editors

Emma Harris and Claire Fulleylove, both specialist nurses in palliative care, will be available in The Forum from 8:30 – 4:30 on Monday 14 May to answer questions from the public and encourage discussion about death and dying.

Thursday 10th of May 2012 10:00:02 AM