Dying Matters

It’s an inevitable part of life that not many like to talk about, but it will affect all of our lives at some point.

Death happens to everyone and it’s a normal part of nature’s order, and being aware of it, but not dwelling on it, is a key aspect of living a happy, full and productive life.

Information about how to support someone you care for who is in their last hours or days is available on our COVID-19 information pages here

Dying Matters Week takes place from 13 to 19 May this year. The week of awareness raising aims to bring conversations and talking about the subject of death and bereavement into the national agenda.

Death needn’t be such a taboo subject and the Dying Matters campaign suggests that people can lead happier lives and should prepare for their funeral arrangements more often, which will help their families in their time of need.

As everyone deals with death and grief in a different way, it’s important that people feel like they can ask others for help in their time of greatest need.

Many people feel too scared of being judged, too proud to show emotion or can’t find the words to express what they’re feeling. On the other side, if we can see someone dealing with death, we may find it hard to talk to them about it out of politeness or fear of saying the wrong thing to them and increasing the hurt.

This years awareness week aims to change that by bringing the subject of death to the forefront by talking about it in our local community centres, community days, schools, libraries and other areas of public life.

In Doncaster, we are linking this years campaign theme ‘Are we ready’ to the use of ReSPECT, which launched in Doncaster on 1 April 2019.

What is the ReSPECT process?

The ReSPECT process creates personalised recommendations for a person’s  care in emergency situations (including cardiorespiratory arrest) in which they are not able to decide for themselves or express their wishes.

The process of creating a ReSPECT form involves a conversation which:

  • Develops a shared understanding of a person’s health condition, circumstances and future outlook
  • Details individual preferences for their care and realistic treatment in the event of a future emergency
  • Creates a record of what an individual would wish for, in terms of their care and treatment in a future emergency where they cannot make or express decisions at the time.

Who is the ReSPECT process for?

The process can be for anyone, but is especially relevant for people:

  • With particular health needs that may involve a sudden deterioration in their health
  • With a life limiting condition, such as advanced organ failure, advanced cancer, or frailty
  • At risk of sudden events, such as epilepsy or diabetic crisis
  • At foreseeable risk of death or sudden cardiorespiratory arrest
  • Who want to complete the ReSPECT process and documentation for other reasons

What are some of the things we can do/prepare?

There are practical things we can do to prepare for death:

  • Write our will
  • Plan our funeral
  • Decide on organ donation
  • Decide our future care wishes
  • Write all of this down- use a ReSPECT form for advanced planning in case of emergency.

Many of us also need to think about our digital legacy- who will have access to our online assets and accounts after we’re gone? This could be anything from online bank accounts to social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Below are a series of short videos that can help raise awareness and encourage conversations about death.

Dying well – Making a will

Dying well – Planning a funeral

Dying well – After-death wishes

A number of videos will also be published during the week of action raising awareness of the importance of ReSPECT.

Dr Dean Eggitt – Doncaster GP and Chief Executive, Doncaster Local Medical Committee

Dr Jenny Collins – Doncaster GP and End of Life Clinical Lead, Doncaster CCG

Karen Lanaghan, End of Life Care Coordinator and Stacey Nutt, Lead Cancer Nurse, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust