High Peak hospice highlights importance of talking about death as part of campaign

A High Peak charity is taking part in a national campaign to get people talking about dying.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 3:04 pm

As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, which is running until Friday May, 6, Blythe House Hospice wants people to open up and talk about their wishes.

Louise Furmston, community engagement lead nurse, with the Eccles Fold based charity said: "If you were planning a wedding, a holiday or big birthday you would talk with your friends and family and make a plan and that’s all we want people to do – start to talk.

"I know this last two years or so we have all dealt with more death and sadness due to the pandemic and people may just want to shut down and not talk about it anymore but there is a better way.”Dying Matters originated from the national charity Hospice UK and the idea has now been picked up by hospices across the country to help make it easier to talk about bereavement.

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Blythe House clinical staff holding up signs showing their wishes for the end of their lives

A spokesperson for Hospice UK said: “With the pandemic far from over, the UK is still struggling with big questions about how and where we die, who we are with at the end and what care and support we have in place.

"Our mission is to help people to talk about dying and grief, and plan for the end of life. But if the healthcare system isn’t set up to deliver on those wishes, then people will not be dying in a good place.”Activities have been taking place at Blythe House and across the High Peak this week to help get people talking.

Louise said: “A hundred years ago people died at home and death was very much part of the community.

“Over time death was taken out of the community and into hospitals and people have come to fear talking about the issue.

Louise Furmston, community engagement lead nurse for Blythe House Hospice wants people to start talking about dying.

“Talking about it won’t summon the Grim Reaper but it may help you and your family to plan for what will happen when the time comes.

"In my job I see people who have been diagnosed with life limiting illnesses or those on end of life care.

"I also see people refusing to talk about death until it becomes this big elephant in the room consuming everything.

Louise says patients and their families will both be thinking about dying and it is better to have the conversation and move on.

She said: “Of course topics like this are emotional but by having a chat it doesn’t have to be a big, long drawn out and deep conversation but just a quick chat can do wonders for everyone.

"Once you have had the talk about what you would like to happen then it’s done and once the time comes people will have a better idea of your wishes.”

This week the hospice has done a community walk where those grieving could come together. A workshop has also been put on to help schools talk about death if a pupil’s family member has died.

She added: “By starting these very important conversations with loved ones it will help everyone to be in a better place.”

If anyone would like the help and services of Blythe House, which also offer bereavement counselling call 01298 815 388 or visit https://blythehousehospice.org.uk/.

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