I became involved in Dying Matters to demonstrate how agencies, organisations and individuals across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast can pull together for the good of the wider community. I’m hoping that by raising the awareness of the campaign, advance care planning conversations will become the norm in future. As a nurse, I believe Dying Matters is everyone’s business, to enable people to have the right care in the right place, with their wishes fulfilled.
I’m based in the community but I also work alongside A&E and the Acute Medical Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, GPs and care homes. The main issues are that people look on dying as a taboo subject and think if they don’t talk about it, it won’t happen; but we all know that is not the case.
I want to raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning, and that this is not just something that elderly people should be thinking about, as it applies to all ages. None of us know what is around the corner and I want people to know that they have choices and preferences, and by discussing these with family, friends and health care professionals, they have more chance of them being fulfilled.
I know through personal experience that not having plans in place may cause arguments between families, and they can also feel guilty, as sometimes they feel they may have got things wrong, and that may have an impact on the bereavement period.
Having plans in place take a huge weight off the shoulders of families and loved ones. I feel it is a privilege and an honour to be part of that process; we only get one chance to get it right.
As part of our Dying Matters awareness campaign, we put posters around different venues featuring Kimberly Rossall, a Dying Matters champion. Kimberley made plans for her end of life and shared them with her family before she died, aged just 21. Kim originally became involved to let people know they had choices, and her family was pivotal in promoting our Dying Matters event by agreeing to allow Kim’s photos to be used.
I had the privilege of organising a Dying Matters event in Blackpool, in St John’s Square in front of the Winter Gardens. We had stands from all areas of the community, a double decker bus, fire, police and ambulance, tissue and organ donation, a funeral director, solicitors, Blackpool Carers Trust, Macmillan, Trinity Hospice, Brian House, Linden Centre and a host of others attended.
For more information about Dying Matters, please visit www.dyingmatters.org/