At the beginning of the year multiple agencies in North Devon joined forces to ensure consistent care and information is provided to families who have been bereaved.
At the beginning of the year multiple agencies in North Devon joined forces to ensure consistent care and information is provided to families who have been bereaved. They included Co-op Funeral care, hospital mortuary & bereavement services, Age concern, civil celebrants, FIG (families in grief), cruise, palliative care nurses etc.
Many of us are aware that the taboo surrounding talking about death is still very prevalent in this country. Of all the sensitive subjects that we face in life, research has shown that death comes top of the list of subjects that we avoid.
We have found in our daily life at work when we meet people who have lost a loved one and too often do not have even a basic idea as to what they have to do.
We thought it would be a great idea to coincide with Dying Matter week to organise a public presentation/display of end of life matters and choices, where people could meet a range of professionals from palliative care specialists, end of life planners and advisors, bereavement support workers, spiritual/humanist advisors, funeral ceremony planners, funeral directors, bereavement counsellors.....etc, all in one place. Ask any question you like!!
We booked the centre stage in our indoor shopping mall not really knowing what response we would get from the public. Our display included a colourful coffin with a F1 racing car over it and a ‘green option’ of a wicker casket. In the weeks leading up to the dying matters week the local arts college where asked to make their own coffin design which the winner would have theirs commissioned by colourful coffins. These were made with card on a smaller scale and shown at the presentation which did provide the area with some humor with some of their designs. Does this make me look fat & where’s Wally where favorites of mine.
Many people stood back and looked from a distance to see what it was all about, tentatively getting closer, others thought it was morbid and didn’t even want to look. I manned the organ & tissue donation stand as our transplant coordinator was called away to a donor. Many people took away application forms; others just wanted to talk about their wishes. One lady told me her husband died on New Years Eve who was a donor and on New Year’s Day he had helped 3 other Dads live, which makes it all worth while.
We found it was mainly the older generations that stopped and talked to us, and the younger people where the ones looking from a distance, and to that end, have I chosen what I want to happen when I die? NO.
Michael Elton, Mortuary & Bereavement Services Manager
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust