Death – one of life’s certainties
02 May 2012
Staff at Southend University Hospital will be breaking taboos later this month when they encourage patients, visitors and colleagues to start talking about death.
Unlike other cultures, we are notoriously reluctant in this
country to face the inevitable so that, when a loved one does die,
we are left totally unprepared.
The hospital'sDying Mattersday onTuesday, May 15aims to start
breaking down those barriers by bringing death to life.
The theme of the event is 'small actions, big difference'.
Visitors to the exhibition in thehospital's old board room on the
ground floorof the Prittlewell wingwill be able to pick up
postcards and list their five top things to do before they die.
Free pens will even be available so there will be no excuses!
Wendy Warner, palliative care lead nurse, said: "Visitors can
take the cards away to think about their wishes, or fill them in
and leave them with us - it is entirely up to them.
"Death, dying andbereavementare traditionally not things we talk
much about. But it is important to have a discussion, not just for
ourselves but for our loved ones. It is an added stress if they do
not know their loved one's wishes. "
Dying MattersWeek runs nationally from May 14 to 20. Things to
think about include:
- where and how we want to be cared for at the end of our
- the need to grant power of attorney
- helping others to live on - donating tissue or organs
- what sort of funeral we would like
- preference for floral tributes or donations to a
- arrangements for looking after loved ones, including pets
- making a will
Representatives from funeral directors, solicitors and
will-writing experts will join with the hospital's palliative care,
counselling andbereavementspecialists at the exhibition to chat and
There will also be a chance to look round the hospital's
dedicatedbereavementsuite where grieving families can find solace
and practical help when a death occurs in the hospital, including
registration facilities. And members of the chaplaincy team will be
on hand to show visitors around the hospital's chapel and
Wendy added: "Here at Southend University Hospital, we have been
doing a great deal of work to meet the needs of patients nearing
the end of their lives.
"We hope that ourDying Mattersday will prompt people to reflect
on the inevitable, ensuring that their care wishes are respected,
things are not left to chance and their wishes are known. It can
give real peace of mind to everyone - themselves and their
Everyone is welcome to come along to the exhibition, which runs
from 09.00 to 15.00 and chat to staff
andbereavementvolunteers. It is a small action - but it could make
a big difference.