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Dying matters

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 06/05/2014 11:38:07

Dying is an inevitability we will all face.

It is a topic most of us shy away from discussing, but talking about it can make all the difference to the person reaching the end of their life and those around them.

Next week (12-18 May) is Dying Matters Awareness Week and NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to talk about their preferences for their end of life care.

Dr Maliha Karamat, GP at Saddleton Road Surgery, Whitstable and CCG clinical lead for End of Life Care, said: “Death is a subject that can be very difficult to broach, however, it’s important to let your family, friends and GP know what you’d like for the end of your life.

“Talking about the practical and emotional aspects of dying is important in ensuring a person’s wishes are carried out.”

The NHS provides support for people at the end of their life in a variety of ways, whether it’s from a palliative care team in the community, pain management at home, in a hospital or hospice.

NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG has recently developed an End of Life Strategy. This includes information for GPs and practice staff and sets out commitments around:
• Supporting patients to ensure their end of life wishes are followed
• That people coming to the end of their life are able to die in the place of their choice, pain free and with dignity
• That support is provided to families and carers of those nearing the end of their life
• And that support is provided to families and carers once their loved one has passed away.

Dr Karamat added: “As a CCG we are committed to improving the quality, care and services for all our patients. Our End of Life Strategy is an important part of ensuring people nearing the end of their lives are made to feel comfortable talking about plans for when they die.

“How people die remains in the memory of those who live on so it is essential for the patient as well as their loved ones to be open about this discussion.”

Dying Matters is a national coalition which aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards dying, death and bereavement. It has produced a leaflet called You Only Die Once which lists five things everyone should do.

1. Live well and die well. Make your wishes known today.
2. Write your will. It is the only way you can be sure your wishes are carried out correctly - and it avoids leaving your family to make difficult legal decisions.
3. Record your funeral wishes. Have the funeral you want.
4. Plan your care and support before you get ill. Talk to your family, healthcare workers and GP. After a sudden stroke you may not be able to talk.
5. Tell your loved ones your wishes. Talking about dying often isn’t easy but you should share your plans and, if you have written them down, let your family know where they are kept.

For more information on Dying Matters see www.dyingmatters.org or call 0800 021 4466.

If anyone has any comments on the draft NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG End of Life Strategy they are encouraged to email the CCG: c4.ccg@nhs.net