Working together locally to support Dying Matters Awareness Week

A newly refreshed website for Suffolk and north east Essex, called To Live With Dying, which provides comprehensive information on death and dying is being launched for Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 8 – 14).

Created by local NHS organisations with the areas’ St Helena, St Nicholas and St Elizabeth hospices, local authorities and wellbeing partners, the website is intended to act as an easily accessible guide to local and national resources that provide helpful information and support.

The website covers issues such as how to talk about death and dying, living well with a life-limiting illness, planning for the future, terms used about death and dying, carer support, how to deal with an emergency, what to do when someone dies, bereavement, loneliness and support.

At Ipswich Waterfront, on St Peter’s Dock opposite Dance East, St Elizabeth Hospice will be installing an art wall for Dying Matters Awareness Week and will encourage people to write, in chalk provided, their ambitions for what they wish to do before they die, in a ‘bucket list’ style piece of art. 

Anyone unable to attend the Ipswich art wall is being invited to visit the specially created local “virtual art wall” where people can share their thoughts, emotions and conversations on death and dying at from Monday.

As part of the week St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds is inviting local businesses to join them for an interactive information evening on May 11. Latest research shows that 57% of employees will have experienced a bereavement in the last five years, and every day, more than 600 people leave their job to look after older or disabled relatives – yet fewer than one in five managers feel very confident in supporting someone they manage with a bereavement.  This event will give line managers and other staff a great opportunity for discussion and learning, as well as hearing more about the work of the hospice.

In north east Essex, St Helena Hospice is set to launch a Dying Matterscampaignwith the theme – “It’s time to end silence around death. Let’s talk about it”. The campaign will consist of videos of family members and friends picking out questions from a gold fish bowl that stimulate people’s thoughts and preferences around end of life and encourages others to start the conversation with their loved ones.

The videos will be shared on social media and a new downloadable conversation starter pack has been created to support the conversations around dying and help those who are unsure how to broach the subject.

Dr Karen Chumbley, End of Life Lead for the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, says: “Local people tell us that access to high quality local information is really important when they, or someone they love, is approaching end of life.

“Therefore, I am delighted to see the expansion of this excellent website to support all the people in our system with information they need about death and dying.”