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Hospice Urges People To Get Talking About Dying During Dying Matters Awareness Week

Talking about death and dying can be challenging but Hospice in the Weald is here to help this Dying Matters Awareness Week (6th-12th May).

Experts at the Hospice are encouraging those in the Kent community to think about the language we use, and the conversations we have, around death and dying, as part of the campaign’s theme ‘The Way We Talk about Dying Matters’.

Paul Madden, Care Director at Hospice in the Weald, said: “Death is one of the few certainties in life and we are all going to be touched by the death of a loved one at some point, but we know this is a subject that many people avoid having conversations about. That can be for many reasons, including a lack of confidence around talking about death, taboos or fears about upsetting someone else, but avoiding the subject only serves to prevent people from getting the right information and support at a time when they need it most.”

A recent Hospice UK survey of more than 1,000 recently bereaved people found that 45% of people preferred direct language, for example saying ‘dying and ‘die’. Meanwhile 33% preferred more euphemistic language, for example referring to a loved one as having ‘passed away’, or phrases like ‘they are not going to make it’ and 21% said that they were unsure or had no preference.

Reflecting on the research, Paul said: “At Hospice in the Weald we aim to use clear language, delivered with kindness and compassion. As part of our approach to finding out what’s important to every person we care for, we aim to ask people what they want to know, how, and when.

“For example, if you’d prefer healthcare professionals, friends or family to avoid words like ‘death’ or ‘dying’, feel free to tell them. For example, “I really dislike using the word die, please can you talk about passing instead?” Nobody wants to cause upset or distress. If everyone is confident about what other words mean to you, then it is fine to use them.

“We won’t always get it right, so encourage people to let us know their wishes and to ask questions, so that we can provide the possible care and support for them and their loved ones.”

Hospice experts will be offering free, creative activities and resources to encourage visitors to get talking about dying matters, as part of a well-being day at Tunbridge Wells’ Literary Festival in Calverley Park on Sunday (12th May). A wide range of resources is available on the Hospice’s website, including top tips on how you might want to approach sensitive conversations, information about how to get your affairs in order and bereavement support.

Paul added: “We hope that everyone in our community will use this as an opportunity to take the time to have honest, timely discussions about death and dying. We are here to provide support know this can transform the end of someone’s life and give clarity and comfort to family and friends.”

Hospice in the Weald provides free care and support for those facing terminal illness and their loved ones. For more information visit www.hospiceintheweald.org.uk or call 01892 820500.

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