Dying matters: breaking down the last great taboo

DEATH may be the last great taboo but NHS West Essex wants to encourage people to start thinking and talking about it next week.

NHS West Essex is teaming up with partner statutory and voluntary organisations to support the Dying Matters Coalition’s view that without communication and understanding, death and terminal illness can be a lonely and stressful experience, both for the person who is dying and for their friends and family.

To help support Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 14-20), a number of events will be held across west Essex ensuring information is available for the public in a variety of settings.

Karen Weatherill, team assistant with the long-term conditions and end of life team with NHS West Essex, said: “If we do not know how to communicate what we want, and those around us do not know how to listen, it is almost impossible to express a clear choice on what we want and this may affect our ability to die where we wish.

“Death is still a taboo which is why we are encouraging people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives. This includes where they want to die and their funeral plans. People should discuss their wishes with friends, family and loved ones. Our aim is to make a ‘good death’ the norm.

“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 loved ones if they know you have had a ‘good death’.”

NHS West Essex and its partner organisations have arranged information stands at the Co-operative store in Dunmow on Tuesday May 15.

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Daniel Robinson & Sons will be holding open days at its funeral homes in Loughton, Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday June 16 from 9am-1pm.

H Peasgood and Son of Saffron Walden will be doing similar.

National and local campaigns will also be running on Twitter and Facebook.

For information about the Dying Matters Coalition and advice on starting those conversations visit dyingmatters.org