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Southampton Hospital Charity calls on community to talk about dying

Southampton Hospital Charity held a talk with funeral director Jonathan Terry to discuss what happens after you die, plus solicitors Kiteley’s spoke to staff about the importance of having a will.

These events are part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week (9-15 May 2016), which has been organised by the Dying Matters Coalition to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement. Throughout Dying Matters Awareness Week, events and activities are being held up and down the country to raise awareness about end of life issues.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2016 is ‘The Big Conversation’, and we will be encouraging the public to talk to each other about dying, death and bereavement, because "Talking about dying won't make it happen!"

Talking about dying may not be easy, but it could be one of the most important conversations you will ever have.

Every minute someone in the UK dies, but many of us still do not feel comfortable talking about dying. Talking more openly about dying can help you to make the most of life and to support loved ones.

  • Only 35% of the public say they have written a will
  • 32% that they have registered as an organ donor or have a donor card
  • 31% that they taken out life insurance
  • 27% that they have talked to someone about their funeral wishes 
  • 7% that they have written down their wishes or preferences about their future care, should they be unable to make decisions for themselves.
With an ageing population and people living for longer with life limiting illnesses, discussing dying is increasingly important. If you don’t talk to your loved ones about their wishes you may be risking leaving it too late.  
Southampton Hospital Charity is one of 30,000 members of the national Dying Matters Coalition, all of whom have an interest in supporting the changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement. Members include organisations from the health and care sectors, community groups, social care and housing, faith groups, the legal profession and the funeral sector. 
Set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009, the Dying Matters Coalition aims to encourage people to talk about their own end of life issues with friends, family and loved ones in order to make ‘a good death’ possible for the 500,000 people who die in England each year.
Research for Dying Matters has found that 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. There is a major mismatch between people’s preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death: 70% of people would prefer to die at home but around half currently die in hospital.
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, we can make a big difference.”

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