Michael Sobell Hospice (MSH) is holding a number of events during Dying Matters Awareness Week (14th-20th May). These events form part of a national campaign which has been organised by the Dying Matters Coalition to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement. Throughout the week, events and activities are being held up and down the country to raise awareness about end of life issues.

The first event at the Hospice is on Monday 14th May, 2.00pm-3.30pm at the Hospice Day Therapy Centre based on the Mount Vernon Hospital Site in Northwood. This event is also open to the public.  Kavit Shah, from Balance Consultancy in Stanmore, will be speaking and answering questions about Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Funeral Planning. The second event is an Awareness Afternoon with tea and cake in the MSH Reception Area, also at the Mount Vernon site on Wednesday 16th May from 2pm – 3pm. This event is a chance for people to ask Hospice staff members any questions they may have about the care and support given at the Hospice.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2018 is ‘What Can You Do?’, and we will be expanding on last year’s theme ‘The Big Conversation’. This aims to get people more active in planning for dying and death and helping support those who may need it in times of grief and bereavement, be they friends, family or in your wider community.

Ursula Reeve, Head of Palliative Care at Michael Sobell Hospie, said: “Many of us still do not feel comfortable talking about dying. Talking more openly about dying can help you to make the most of life and to support loved ones. We hope that our events during ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ will help get the difficult conversations going and encourage people to talk about this important but taboo subject.”

She added: “The Awareness Week is about encouraging people to actively make plans for themselves, share them with friends and family, support the bereaved and offer support and help to those who may need it. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help or to offer help. Communities are growing larger and more varied and all can be affected by death and loss.”

Michael Sobell Hospice is one of 30,000 members of the national Dying Matters Coalition, all of whom have an interest in supporting the changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement. Members include organisations from the health and care sectors, community groups, social care and housing, faith groups, the legal profession and the funeral sector.

Set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009, the Dying Matters Coalition aims to encourage people to talk about their own end of life issues with friends, family and loved ones in order to make ‘a good death’ possible for the 500,000 people who die in England each year.

Research for Dying Matters has found that many people have specific wishes about their end of life care or what they would like to happen to them after their death, but a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that these will be met. There is a major mismatch between people’s preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death: 70% of people would prefer to die at home but around half currently die in hospital.

Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care said: “Every minute someone in England dies, but many people still feel uncomfortable talking about end of life issues. Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone’s interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, where we want it, at the end of our lives. Through being more confident in talking about dying, we can make a big difference.”

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 Notes to Editors

  • Michael Sobell House (MSH) (Reg. Charity Number: 1079638) is the Hospice and specialist palliative care centre at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood; enhancing without discrimination, the care of patients with life-limiting illnesses.
  • With a 16 bedded in-patient unit and day therapy centre, MSH aims to ensure that all patients facing life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers, receive the best possible care to enhance quality of life, with the focus placed on providing relief from their symptoms.
  • A patient may be admitted for symptom management, respite care, rehabilitation, or for care in the last days of life, and will be cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, complementary and art therapists, housekeepers, volunteers, chaplains and administration staff.
  • There is no charge for the care provided, but Michael Sobell Hospice relies heavily on charitable donations. It costs £6,000 a day to maintain our current levels of care, £2,500 of which is provided by fundraising. The Charity needs to raise over £1.6 million pounds this year to ensure the continued funding of the care, comfort and support of patients, families and carers.

For more information please contact the PR & Marketing team on 020 3826 2363/2367 or email Marketing@michaelsobellhospice.co.uk

For further information on the Dying Matters Coalition or events during Dying Matters Awareness Week, please call freephone 08000 214466 or email info@dyingmatters.org, or visit the website at www.dyingmatters.org

The comments in this release represent the views of Michael Sobell Hospice and do not necessarily represent the views of the Dying Matters Coalition or other member organisations.