Dying matters………..

A new report highlights that despite a death every minute in England, we still are not dying where we want. So the Macmillan team at Basildon University Hospital has teamed up with St Luke’s Hospice to educate local people about the choices they have.

In partnership with other professionals, community groups and individuals, they have established a local Dying Matters Coalition Group to raise awareness of the choices available to support people at the end of their lives.

After successful stands in the Eastgate Centre, Basildon, Grays Town Centre and at the Basfest, they now plan to hold mini-roadshows in places like nursing homes and libraries, across south west Essex to make sure that people who need the information are aware of their choices.

Deb Hickey, Head of Care at St Luke’s Hospice, said: “We all deserve to die well and that includes where we want to be, but this won’t happen if we don’t talk about it. That is why we wanted to do the roadshow, so we can reach out to those who might not have easy access to this information and let them know there is a choice and they are in the driving seat.”

Sharon Quinn, Macmillan Team Leader at Basildon University Hospital, added: “Death isn’t something people like to think or talk about, but if you have a plan it makes it much easier for health professionals, your friends and family, to make sure your wishes are complied with when the time comes. It also means you keep control of what happens. Once you’ve had that conversation with your next of kin and loved ones, you can forget about it and carry on living.”

It comes as a country-wide report shows although around 70% of people would like to die at home, about 60% of us die in hospital. In the East of England, around 20% of people die in their own home.

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “This report gives a picture of where and how we die and regional variations. While wealth, age and gender make a difference, dying well is more likely to be achieved by talking about it early on. That is why the 10,000 members of the Dying Matters coalition are encouraging everyone to talk about their wishes and make living well and dying well a normal part of life for everyone. This will also raise the profile of end of life care and highlight the gaps in services. ”

If you want the mini-roadshow to visit your organisation, please contact Sharon Quinn or another member of the Macmillan Team on 01268 524900 ext 3088.

For support, information and resources on death, dying and bereavement issues, visit www.dyingmatters.org.uk.

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