Lostock Hall hospice St Catherine's is encouraging people to be more open about the difficult subject of dying

Families are being urged to have important, albeit difficult, conversations about the end of life about what some see as a taboo subject.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 12:30 pm

St Catherine’s Hospice is sharing end-of-life and bereavement advice as part of Dying Matters week, a national campaign that urges people to open up difficult discussions about death and bereavement, to help them be more prepared for the future and ensure their wishes are known.

The charity’s Director of Knowledge and Technical, Lynn Kelly, said: “Dying Matters raises awareness of the importance of having conversations about end-of-life with healthcare professionals and those close to you.

"It encourages putting plans in place for your future, such as writing a will, considering organ donation, and making funeral arrangements, so that your wishes are recorded and your loved ones know how you want to be cared for and remembered.”

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St Catherine's Director of Knowledge and Technical, Lynn Kelly

Throughout Dying Matters Awareness Week, St Catherine’s is sharing advice and resources on its social media channels, covering topics such as ways to take care of yourself and be prepared for the future, how to talk about sensitive subjects, and ways to help in your own community.

Lynn added: “The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week this year is ‘listening’ – how to be there for people when they want to talk about issues around death, bereavement and being better prepared emotionally and practically for the end of life.

“We’ll also be reaching out and asking how we might be able to share our knowledge, skills and advice so that people can help themselves and others during these challenging times brought about by the Coronavirus, as we’re all having to think of new ways to keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours.”

St Catherine’s is also highlighting its Compassionate Communities approach during the week, which aims to give people the knowledge, skills and confidence to support their own communities in a range of practical and emotional ways.

Lynn added. “We hope to help people feel comfortable providing practical support within their own neighbourhoods, and to develop communication skills to support those dealing with anxiety, bereavement or grief.

“The outbreak of the Coronavirus has seen an outpouring of generosity and people pulling together to face the crisis, from carrying out shopping for neighbours during the lockdown, to teaching elderly relatives how to use social media and video apps to keep in touch during social isolation.

“These small acts of kindness make a big difference to people’s lives, and it’s this kind of consideration and thoughtfulness for others which the St Catherine’s Compassionate Communities initiative is built on.”

The charity’s website, www.stcatherines.co.uk, also offers a range of resources, links and downloads for everyone to access, including advance care planning guidance, relaxation and coping with anxiety, as well as materials developed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak such as guidance for carers during the pandemic, and a useful list of local contacts during isolation.