People asked to consider ‘Dying Matters’

People in Coventry and Warwickshire are invited to attend events and ask questions about what happens when someone is thought to be close to the end of their life, who looks after them and what support is available for families and carers.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) is working alongside many local organisations including The Myton Hospices, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Coventry City Council and Macmillan at events across the city. The aim of this week’s events is to encourage people to talk more openly about death and dying and consider how they may hope to be cared for in the future.

These events form part of the national Dying Matters Awareness Week between 9-15 May, which is an initiative that aims to promote conversation about death, dying and bereavement within healthcare settings and in the wider community. This year’s theme is ‘The Big Conversation’, which aims to encourage people who find the topic uncomfortable, giving them an opportunity to talk about the end of life in a safe environment.

Chaplain and Bereavement Services Officer, Rev. Janelle Kingham said: “The conversation about the end of a person’s life is one of the most important conversations a person ever has. It is important to plan ahead and let those that you love, or another dedicated person, know what your preferences are.

“We hope to encourage positive conversations between people, their family members and staff about their preferences for the future. We want to help make the subject a community talking point again; no one should feel they’re dying alone.”

Lead Clinician for End of Life Care at UHCW and Consultant in Palliative Medicine at The Myton Hospices, Dr Sarah MacLaran said: “The clinical teams who support patients in the last months, weeks and days of life are passionate about providing the best possible care at this important time.

“We are working together closely as a group of organisations to try to ensure that no matter where the patient is – at home, in hospital or in the hospice – we are all focused on that patient’s own personal goals and preferences. We know that for some people talking about the end of life may be difficult.
“We hope that, by raising awareness of what happens when someone is close to dying and who is out there providing care, we will encourage people to talk about dying more openly. We only have one chance to get this right”

Dying Matters found that 72% of the public believe that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying, death and bereavement and that just 18% of British adults say they have asked a family member about their end of life wishes.

Michelle Linnane, Director of Nursing at The Myton Hospices said: “We understand talking about death and dying can be a difficult topic of conversation; during Dying Matters Awareness Week, we are encouraging people to recognise the importance of talking about their final wishes and encouraging them to do so, whether that be with a family member, a friend or a colleague.”

The events will be held on:

  • Coventry City Library: 10am-12pm on Tuesday, May 10
  • Coventry Cathedral: 12-2pm on Wednesday, May 11
  • Myton Hospice Warwick open afternoon: 2-3.30pm on Wednesday, May 11
  • Myton Hospice Coventry open afternoon: 2-3.30pm on Thursday, May 12
  • Union Reformed Church, Nuneaton: 10am-2pm on Saturday, May 14
  • Heart of England Co-op Funeral Care Open Day, Foleshill: 10am-2pm on Saturday, May 14
  • Stall in Nuneaton Town Centre: All day on Saturday, May 14.
  • Myton and Shakespeare Hospice stand at Morrisons, Stratford-Upon-Avon: All day on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

As well as information points at University Hospital, Macmillan information points in city libraries, and the Myton Hospice all week.