13 May 2019

We’re all going to die, but many of us find it difficult to talk, or even think, about what lies ahead, or consider what it might feel like to lose someone we care for.

The End of Life Care Service at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH), which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford (PRH) and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH), believes we should all be able to talk openly about death and dying, so they’re celebrating Dying Matters Awareness Week, which began today, in a number of ways.

A Bereavement Workbook, co-written by Roy Lilley, founder of the Academy of Fabulous Stuff, will be re-published after 23 years with the help of SaTH’s End of Life Care Facilitator Jules Lewis and End of Life Care Lead Volunteer Jules Lock, who helped him to update it.

With thanks to the late Professor Anne Faulkner, who wrote the original with Roy, the book aims to help people find better ways to manage end of life and bereavement care.

On Wednesday, Jules Lewis will be live on Jim Hawkins’ BBC Radio Shropshire show playing a selection of #deadgoodmusic; songs submitted via Twitter that celebrate who we are and what we love in life and death.

On Thursday, the End of Life Care Service will host a Dying Matters Conference at RSH. A day of learning and sharing best practice, the conference will host a number of speakers, show films, play some #deadgoodmusic, and even stage an innovative play.

Throughout the week, the team will publicise ‘Taste for Pleasure’, a ground-breaking initiative that gives Nil By Mouth patients tastes of their favourite flavours as they receive end of life care.

Jules Lewis said: “The Theme for this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week is ‘Are We Ready?’, and looks at the practical and emotional steps we all need to take to be ready for the end of our lives.

“Death and dying is very difficult to deal with, even for staff who work in hospitals, but we only have one chance to get it right for our patients and so it’s important that we can be open and frank about our feelings towards it.

“If we can all have a conversation about how we would like to be looked after and any preferences we might have when we reach the end of our lives, we can help the people who care for us to make sure we have the best possible experience.”