Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Health body urges open discussion about death

Edwin Poots

Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency is urging everyone to make an opportunity to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement with their loved ones.

Health Minister Edwin Poots is backing calls for “open and honest discussion” about death to mark ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ which runs until May 20.

The PHA says research has found that many people have specific wishes about their end-of-life care or what they would like to happen after their death. But there is also a reluctance to discuss these issues, making it much less likely that these will be met. It found that 70% of people would prefer to die at home but more than half currently die in hospital.

Mr Poots said good palliative and end-of-life care is an important part of health and social care services in Northern Ireland.

“At the centre of my department’s Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy “Living Matters: Dying Matters” is a person-centred approach to care that allows people to retain control, dignity and choice in how and where their care is provided to end of life,” he said.

Mary Hinds, chair of the Implementation Group responsible for overseeing the regional Strategy, said: “Everyone should take the time to think ahead and consider your personal choices, talk to other people, including healthcare professionals and then tell key people, including family, of your decisions.”

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