We have marked national Dying Matters Awareness Week with a series of events – including asking people to share their bucket list wishes.
Palliative care staff and partners including Saint Francis Hospice held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at both our hospitals.
They shared information and advice with staff, patients and visitors and asked them to share their bucket list wishes, including ‘fly over Niagara Falls in a helicopter’ and ‘retire’. People wrote them on a whiteboard and posed for Polaroid pictures which were then displayed in the hospitals throughout the week.
The aim of the national week is to raise awareness about dying, death and bereavement. The theme of this year’s event is the Big Conversation, which aims to get people talking and therefore planning more for the end of their lives.
The week culminated today with a performance from Sound of Pride, the hospitals’ staff choir, at Queen’s Hospital and an event for staff themed on Dying Matters. It included a presentation on the difficult daily conversations had with patients and families, and members of the palliative care team will lead an interactive discussion on the topic.
Chief Nurse Kathryn Halford said: “Many families understandably don’t like to have conversations about death and dying. However, this can lead to even more upset when the time comes and it’s too late to grant any last wishes – or no one has any idea what their loved one would want.
“That’s why this year’s theme the Big Conversation is important. Talking about death isn’t just for terminally ill people, we could all benefit from thinking about what our wishes would be, and letting our loved ones know.”
Find out more about Dying Matters Awareness Week here.