One Gloucestershire is encouraging people to open up and talk about dying, grief and end of life plans during Dying Matters Awareness Week.

The initiative from May 2 to 6 is part of a national campaign to encourage conversations around death and dying, how and where we die, and what care and support we have in place.

Many more people have experienced the loss of a loved one because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in some cases families have been affected by the absence of emotional and practical support. The pandemic has highlighted how vital it is for discussion to take place so that families can plan for a good death experience.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week is ‘being in a good place to die’. One Gloucestershire works closely with its partner organisations through a clinical programme group. This approach gives patients a voice, by involving them with the development of Gloucestershire’s vision for end of life care.

Dr Kate Tredgett, Consultant in Palliative Medicine and Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“There is strong partnership approach in Gloucestershire to develop and improve the palliative and end of life care offer both in a hospital setting as well as in the community.

“The Clinical Programme Group’s membership includes partner organisations from across health and social care, voluntary and community sector organisations and people with experience of losing a loved one. The group is keen to put the patient and carer voice at the centre of what we do.

“Dying matters week is a vital opportunity to hear from members of the public about their experiences; If you have a few moments we would all be very grateful if you could share your thoughts and experiences by completing our survey.”

Dying Matters Awareness Week aims to provide opportunities to reduce the stigma around talking about death and dying so that people feel able to start challenging conversations.

Hannah Williams, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Whilst no one really likes to think of it, the simple fact is that we’re all going to die, and most of us will experience losing people we love and care for during our lifetime. Having open conversations about death and dying allows us to consider different options for end of life care, how we would prefer to live our final days, and how we want our lives to be celebrated and remembered.

“We all have different relationships with death, shaped by our own experiences, religious or spiritual beliefs, culture, family history and current circumstances, Some may find conversations come easier to them others might find it very difficult, but just letting them know you’re available to talk if they want to is a good first step.”

Jane Haros Associate Director of Nursing at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care, said working together as a partnership enables health and care professionals to be responsive.

“One of our priorities for Gloucestershire is early identification of people approaching end of life, this is so we can be more proactive, providing better personalised, supportive care”, she said.

“Early identification of end of life is important; it allows the person and their family a sense of control despite a changing condition and enables people both to live and to conclude their lives well.”

The NHS information bus will be out in the community during the week, giving people the chance to come and discuss end of life support.

Dr Hein Le Roux, Deputy Clinical Chair at the CCG said:

“Talking about and planning the final stage of your life can be uncomfortable or upsetting, but these conversations are so important. It means that we can better support people and their families to consider their future care needs and wishes and in turn reduces the risk of crisis as health deteriorates.

“Having an open and honest conversation with a family member, your GP, or other health professional can help to prepare you emotionally. If these thoughts and wishes are recorded it makes it more likely that you will receive the medical care you would prefer at the end of your life.”

Feedback from the Dying matters week survey will help continue to improve palliative and end of life care services and support:

Come and visit the NHS information bus and have a conversation with us:

  • Tuesday May 3 from 10am-2pm Tesco in Stroud
  • Friday May 6 from 10am-2pm Morrisons in Tewkesbury

Join the conversation on social media:
Use the following hashtags on Twitter and Facebook #InAGoodPlace #DMAW22
More information here: