Local commissioners and providers of healthcare are joining forces to encourage people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, including where they want to die and their funeral plans, as part of national Dying Matters Week, 14 – 20 May 2018.
A number of events will be taking place across the Surrey Downs and Sutton areas, to provide people with a place to talk and learn how the NHS, hospices and other local services are working hard to provide more support to those nearing the end of their lives, as well as their families and carers. Anyone is welcome to come along, speak to professionals and have any questions answered around death and dying.
As well as getting people talking, this year the focus is on what people can do to help in the community – so even if you are not nearing the end of your life but would like to help others, there are a number of opportunities to do so.
NHS Surrey Downs CCG, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and partner organisations want to help people who are at the end of life to be cared for in their preferred place of care wherever possible, with support for them and their loved ones.
Dr Simon Williams, End of Life Clinical Lead for NHS Surrey Downs CCG, says: “The local NHS, social care and hospices now have a range of support services available to help those approaching the end of their lives, as well as their loved ones and carers. We know that facing the idea of an end of life plan can be extremely hard to do, but by just starting the conversation with the right people means that we can provide support going forward.”
Dr Rina Patel, Palliative Medical Consultant at Epsom and St Helier, says: “We want to support people in communicating openly about death and dying, and hope that the events we are hosting will give all members of the public the chance to come and find out more.
By holding events throughout the week that get people talking about death we are able to provide advice and tools on what to do when the moment comes.
There are a number of ways people can get involved in Dying Matters Week, including joining one of our public events:
- Monday 14 May: Launch event, featuring the Epsom and St Helier Hospital choir, 1pm, St Helier main reception. Come listen and join in
- Tuesday 15 May: Drop in event, 2-4pm, MacMillan Butterfly Centre, Epsom Hospital. A chance to chat or ask questions to health and social care professionals
- Wednesday 16 May, ‘I Did It My Way Café’, 2-4pm, Pink Room, St Helier Hospital.”
You could also:
- Visit the main receptions at Epsom or St Helier hospitals during the week for information of events and available support
- Use personal experiences of end of life to provide feedback – see the End of Life care strategy at www.surreydownsccg.nhs.uk
- Offer practical support to those who may be struggling with end of life, such as helping with shopping or dog walking
- Volunteer at a local hospice or charity. You can find out more about Epsom and St Helier support groups and charities here: www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/our-charities-and-support-groups.