Dying Matters Awareness Week 2021 - #InAGoodPlacetoDie
Wow , what a year to be celebrating Dying Matters , at no other time does this feel more relevant to be discussing. This year the theme is in a good place to die .
For over a decade and a half we have been pushing and promoting people to have conversations with those that are closest to them, regarding their wishes at end of life, and whilst this has been effective in parts, for many those discussions are just one step too far , at least until they become unwell and have a terminal diagnosis .
Death as birth is a natural transition of life, a milestone , yet the taboo remains.
This year , throughout the pandemic , nurses and others within health and social care have experienced more death and dying than possibly at any other time in their careers , those that never imagined they would be looking after the dying have been redeployed into roles where the skills around end of life care are essential.
Nurses have not only provided this care for those we are providing a service to, we have lost our own , our family members, friends, and colleagues, and the death count continues.
Many more people have died at home, which in normal times would have been a cause for celebration, yet under the circumstances these home deaths may not have always been “a good place to die”. The ask of our community nurses to provide end of life care whilst clad in PPE and their personal fear and anxieties, has been a big ask . Especially when often the pace at which people have been dying has left little time for those critical and important conversations or times when families and loved ones have clambered to be around the bedside, they have been replaced by virtual hugs, messages of love via telephone or iPad, and in some cases where technology has not been available , Nurses and Carers have been the surrogate.
In a Good Place to Die , has always been considered the place where the person chooses , yet in the midst of a pandemic we have more than ever, come to accept that for some those choices are limited.
On reflection of the last years events A Good Place to Die may no longer only be seen as being within the setting you choose, it may also allude to a state of mind , a peace with oneself, those we love, and ones surroundings which in reality can only be achieved with discussion, preparation and acceptance.
Discussions around “What Matters to you” as an individual and as part of your community can support this process throughout the life journey making the discussion ,as we approach the ending of our life, a continuum rather than a stand-alone event . The normalising and de-medicalising of these conversations will not only enhance people to be in a good place throughout their lives, they will ultimately impact on their ability to be In A Good Place to Die.
Check out the DyingMatters Website for events that are happening during this week https://www.dyingmatters.org/