Looking Forward to Dying Matters Week 2017

April 28, 2017

Gary Rycroft, Chair of the Dying Matters Coalition, on what Dying Matters Week is and why everyone can get involved…

Dying Matters is a social movement which is run by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).  NCPC recently celebrated its 25th birthday and Dying Matters has been running since 2008.  The Trustees of NCPC have recently agreed to explore merging with Hospice UK and the Trustees of Hospice UK have likewise agreed to work towards a merger with NCPC.  It is hoped that the merger will go ahead by 1st July 2017.  If NCPC and Hospice UK do merge, the Dying Matters brand will retain its separate identity within the new merged charity and Dying Matters will continue in the same vein as before.  We are already planning Dying Matters Week 2018!

Dying Matters Week 2017 is to run from Monday 8th May. The thinking behind setting up Dying Matters in the first place and the theme which pervades each and every Dying Matters Week is to break down the taboo about talking about death and dying in order to encourage everyone to talk about end of life in a positive and life enhancing way.

In previous years, the theme for Dying Matters has been “Let’s Talk about it” which arises from the taboo already mentioned that people do not on the whole like to talk about it. Since 2008, Dying Matters has been successful in encouraging more people to talk about death and dying in a positive way. For Dying Matters Week 2017, there is a slight shift in emphasis in that the theme is “What can you do about it”, which is in essence a call to action to talk about it and then do something positive about what you have talked about.

Doing something positive may be something for yourself or for your family and friends in supporting them to make decisions. It might be for the community that you live in and your place of work. The positive action that people can take is to make a Will, put in place arrangements for loss of capacity such as Lasting Powers of Attorney and think about advance care planning and issues such as whether or not you would want to be given CPR in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. Dying Matters has always, and will continue, to encourage people to think about funeral arrangements and putting financial affairs in order. Dying Matters Awareness Week is also a time to consider whether or not you would like to sign up for organ and tissue donation.

There are hundreds of Dying Matters events organised across England and Wales to take place during Dying Matters Week 2017. All kinds of different organisations get involved in putting on a myriad of different types of events. Hospices and hospitals get involved, funeral directors and solicitors, as well as academic institutions, financial businesses and arts organisations. There may be a special film screening or theatre event close to you or a pop up death café or tour of the local crematorium. The types of events on offer are as diverse as the society that we live in. You will find a list of events taking place on the Dying Matters website.

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