A chance to talk about death in Dying Awareness Week

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HospiceCare North Northumberland is urging people to talk about death, dying and bereavement as Dying Matters Awareness week takes place.

Running from Monday, May 14, to Sunday, May 20, Dying Matters Awareness Week runs each year and provides an invaluable opportunity for communities to talk about the things that lots of people don’t want to discuss.

During next week, the hospice is asking the public to encourage their friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours to discuss what they want for the end of their lives with those close to them.

Losing the ability to make decisions for yourself can happen unexpectedly and thinking about your wishes and preferences can take time, so it’s best to begin as early as possible.

Do it before it’s too late as we never know what’s around the corner.

There are five simple steps that can get people started: Write your will, record your funeral wishes, plan your future care and support, consider registering as an organ donor, and tell your loved ones your wishes.

A Dying Matters Awareness Week event can be large or small or anywhere in between. You could host a coffee morning in your home, place of work, or meet up in your local community space and yes, that could be your local pub!

Julie Frost, marketing and communications officer, said: “We want to get people talking about death, dying and bereavement. At HospiceCare, we provide support to patients and their families and our doors are always open.

“Our income is not supported by national charities, such as Macmillan or Marie Curie.”

HospiceCare has a dedicated team of nurses and nursing assistants who have the skills and knowledge to care and support patients, carers and families in their own home, working in partnership with other health and social care providers.

The timing of care and support delivered is tailored to the needs of the patient and family or carer.

So if a carer needs to have a decent night’s sleep, support is provided overnight, or during the day giving the carer ‘their’ time.

Hospice at Home is also very much about supporting those who wish to die at home.

This might involve providing care at short notice to facilitate rapid discharge from hospital, as well as being there when a patient’s condition begins to deteriorate.

Bereavement support is offered to adults living in north Northumberland.

It is a free service available to anyone who has suffered loss and bereavement and there does not need to have been any previous contact with the hospice.

People can refer themselves or a family member to the service or access it through a professional such as GP, social services or community nurses.

Last year, their bereavement support service received 53 new referrals and delivered 400 hours of bereavement support.

HospiceCare is currently supporting around 40 clients every month.

The bereavement support is delivered by trained and skilled volunteers who have a knowledge and understanding of the physical and emotional pain people experience when grieving.

The volunteers are not trained counsellors but provide a supportive ‘listening ear’ either in someone’s home or at the hospice as a one-to-one appointment. 

This year, HospiceCare North Northumberland will need to generate around £660,000 and will receive just a six per cent contribution from the NHS, the rest it has to find from donations, fund-raising and legacies.