Eve Richardson, Chief Executive, National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition
Next week (14-20 May) marks the third annual Dying Matters Awareness Week in England, aimed at encouraging people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement and set out their end of life wishes. Its focus is on ‘Small actions Big difference’.
The awareness week is organised by the Dying Matters Coalition, set up in 2009 by the National Council for Palliative Care. With more than 16,000 members, including charities, care homes, hospices, hospitals, doctors, funeral directors and legal and financial organisations, Dying Matters has gone from strength to strength since it started.
This is important work as many people in England are not getting their end of life wishes met. As new research by ComRes that Dying Matters is publishing next week shows, the majority of the public and of general practitioners agree that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying and believe this has a negative impact on getting end of life wishes met.
It is not just the public who aren’t talking enough about dying. Many doctors appear as reluctant as the general public to discuss end of life, including with their patients, or to set out their wishes. That’s why Dying Matters works with GPs to run communications skills training and why we are working with partners including the Department of Health to support doctors to identify the 1% of their patients likely to be in the last year of life so they can discuss their care with them.
As well as releasing new research and encouraging people to take small actions that can make a big difference such as writing a will, registering as an organ donor or discussing their end of life wishes, we’re launching two short films for the awareness week. ‘The Last Laugh’ features top British comedian Alexei Sayle exploring the value of humour with people who are dying, and ‘I Didn’t Want That’, encourages people to put plans in place for when they die. We’ll also be announcing winners of a groundbreaking ‘Final Chapters’ creative writing competition on end of life, and holding a photo exhibition featuring work by the photographer Nadia Bettega capturing the small actions that make a powerful difference to those people facing the end of life.
To find out more…
Click here www.dyingmatters.org for more information about Dying Matters Awareness Week and our ‘Small Actions, Big Difference’ campaign. Or please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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