Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group

Somerset gp says, "We all need to learn about death and dying"

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Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 (18-24 May 2015)

A new guide to help patients, carers and their relatives plan and support each other to have a ‘good death’ is being published later this month as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Dr Chris Absolon, a Somerset GP and Palliative Care Lead to Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, has developed the guide called ‘Planning Ahead’ in collaboration with the many health professionals involved in end of life care across the county.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 is ‘Talk, Plan, Live’, emphasising that we only get once chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it’s vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life – before it’s too late.

Dr Absolon explained: “We will be publishing our ‘Planning Ahead’ guide in Dying Matters Awareness Week to help patients who might be getting towards the end of their lives to talk about their wishes and the practical arrangements that could be put in place in advance of a crisis. 

“We take it for granted that most people in this country have a birth plan, but few discuss or make arrangements for their eventual death.  This might seem like a morbid topic but many people have specific wishes about their end of life care or what they would like to happen to them after their death, but a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that these will be met.

“We will also be holding a lunchtime Death café for health staff at Somerset CCG’s Yeovil Offices.  Just like the public, health professionals often find it difficult to broach the subject of death and dying with patients or their relatives.  Being able to facilitate such conversations well and in a way that is sensitive to the patient’s wishes is a real skill and one which many health professionals say they would like to improve”.

Dying Matters suggests to members of the public to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are: 

  • Write your will

  • Record your funeral wishes

  • Plan your future care and support

  • Consider registering as an organ donor

  • Tell your loved ones your wishes

Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care said:

“Every minute someone in England dies, but many people still feel uncomfortable talking about end of life issues. Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone’s interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, where we want it, at the end of our lives. Through being more confident in talking about dying and taking the five steps we are promoting during Dying Matters Awareness Week to plan for the future, we can make a big difference.”

For more information about Dying Matter Awareness Week go to:

You can download a copy of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group's Planning Ahead – A Guide for Patients and their Carers by clicking on the link.

See also the Palliative Care page of the Somerset CCG website.










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