If you work in end of life care, don’t overlook planning your own death

Faces of victims of the Holocaust

When you work in a place where people die, whether it be a hospice, hospital or nursing home, you often think about death and bereavement - and you may want to leave those thoughts at work when you get home. This Dying Matters Awareness Week, Wheatfields Hospice Director Kate Bratt-Farrar urges, please make an exception.

At Sue Ryder, we are passionate and committed to supporting people to live the best life they can until the end. Our focus is on helping people to maintain independence and making the time they have left as pain and stress-free as possible.

However, when discussing the death of some of our own staff members with a colleague recently, she highlighted to me that we who work in end of life care can be terrible at planning and talking about what we want for ourselves.

Many of us don’t have Wills and haven’t had the important conversations with our families about the things we want to happen after we die, despite encouraging those around us at the hospice to do so on a daily basis.

Why should I think about dying now?

By making these decisions early on, we can achieve a number of important things:

  1. We openly recognise the fact that death will indeed come to all of us.
  2. We plan for the future of our loved ones.
  3. We ensure that after death our wishes are met.
  4. We set an important example to those we care for every single day.

Break the taboo

This year, for Dying Matters Awareness Week, I really hope that more people, including our staff, will think and talk about what they want for themselves.

We need to take the time to share our wishes; even plan our own funerals.

There are some great pieces of work going on in Leeds during the week so, if you're local, do come to a film screening, meet staff from Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and neighbouring St Gemmas Hospice, or attend a Death Café. Our door is always open.

Kate Bratt-Farrar

Hospice Director

Kate Bratt-Farrar