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County organisations join together to promote healthier attitude to death

Forty different organisations from across Staffordshire are coming together to promote a healthier attitude to death and dying.

From nurseries to crematoria, the organisations are coming together to get involved with Dying Matters Awareness Week, as part of the Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board’s Dying Matters campaign.

Running from 14 to 20 May, the week will see more than 50 events staged throughout the region, with the aim of encouraging people to talk honestly and openly about death and dying.

County Councillor Alan White, Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing said:  “It’s really important we are more open and honest about death and dying, and that we speak about our dying wishes while we are well.  Dying Matters Awareness week is packed full of activities, talks and drop-in sessions to help people have those open and honest conversations, and hopefully normalise talk about death and dying.”

Events include a drop-in event by Co-Op Funeral care in Stone, a virtual autopsy courtesy of the University Hospitals of the North Midlands NHS Trust, and pop-up shop from St Giles Hospice and Tamworth Co-Operative Funeral Care. The moving play ‘Homeward Bound,’ about a couple’s real-life experience coping with terminal illness and death, will also be performed at venues around Staffordshire throughout the week.

Dr Steve Fawcett, Medical Director for the Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “End of life care and planning for a dignified death is difficult enough but as a GP, I often see relatives who find it difficult to cope with bereavement because they hadn’t discussed the wishes of someone they cared for and are left to try to make difficult choices and do what they think is right.

“It is really important that we start this conversation early about the arrangements that we want to put in place to make things as easy as possible for those we leave behind and Dying Matters is a way of bringing this out in the open.”

Health and care organisations have come together across Staffordshire to spread the message to as many people as possible. Dying Matters Awareness Week aims to end the stigma surrounding death, and help people talk openly and honestly about what they want to happen when they die.

Nicki Morgan, team leader for the palliative care team at the UHNM said, “Every year in May, Dying Matters and its coalition members host an Awareness Week; this provides us with a fantastic opportunity to talk about dying, death and bereavement.

This year the University Hospital of North Midlands sought to develop a more collaborative approach across the health economy and chaired a forum to ensure that local organisations have a voice. This has resulted in an exciting programme of events planned across Staffordshire, the theme of which will be ‘What Can You Do… in your community?’ to help someone facing dying, death or bereavement. We are looking forward to meeting everyone throughout the week.”

For more information on the events, go to www.dyingmattersstaffs.org.uk, or visit Facebook and search for ‘Dying Matters Staffordshire.’

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