Dying Matters events aim to tackle the taboo of end of life care

Dying Matters event at The Forum in 2016. Healthwatch Norfolk chairman William Armstrong speaking at

Dying Matters event at The Forum in 2016. Healthwatch Norfolk chairman William Armstrong speaking at the event. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

For many people death can be a taboo subject.

Dying Matters event at The Forum in 2016. Pictured at the Norwich Death Cafe, left, Su Squire and Ka

Dying Matters event at The Forum in 2016. Pictured at the Norwich Death Cafe, left, Su Squire and Kayla Bainger. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

But an event to be held in Norwich on Tuesday is hoping to break down those barriers, and make it easier to talk about palliative care.

Health experts from across Norfolk will be marking Dying Matters Week (May 8-14) by sharing knowledge and expertise in the delivery of robust, high-quality end of life care.

It is all part of the Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson's Summit on Palliative and End of Life Care and will incorporate an information event in the Forum's atrium, with more than 20 stalls and a death cafe. In the auditorium, speakers will give their expert opinions on the week's topic 'What can you do?'.

One of the speakers, Libby Sallnow, is a clinician and doctoral researcher at St Joseph's Hospice, London, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland - although she originally comes from Norfolk. She is working on a PhD in what she calls compassionate communities.

Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

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'They are about communities taking back control of end of life care,' she said. 'Death has become really professionalised, over the years it has been taken over by healthcare professionals, so people don't know what to do.'

But she said whilst doctors and other healthcare workers can provide medical care, they can not provide the 'meaningful relationships that makes life worth living'.

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She added: 'It's about professionals stepping back while supporting the community to step up.'

Maggie Tween, head of cancer, palliative and end of life care with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: 'This important event will bring together various organisations from across Norfolk and Waveney to raise awareness of issues relating to death and dying and the services which are available as people reach the end of their lives.

Libby Sallnow. Photo: Libby Sallnow

Libby Sallnow. Photo: Libby Sallnow - Credit: Libby Sallnow

'Many people still feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about death – and that's something we're keen to change. We hope that we can break down barriers, change behaviours and encourage people to discuss their wishes openly with their friends, family and relatives so that dying well becomes a natural part of a good life.'

For more information about the event, which runs between 9.30am and 4pm, contact Sue Spooner on 07887 984343 or suespooner51@btinternet.com


9.30am - Welcome by Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Richard Jewson

9.35am - Roisin Fallon-Williams, Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust - How can we contribute to the STP for Norfolk and Waveney

9.40am - Dr Louise Smith, Public Health Director, Norfolk County Council - Demographic pressures facing health and social care services

10am - Dr Libby Sallnow - Compassionate Communities

10.40am - Jo Smithson, CEO Norwich CCG and Rosemary Pell, Deaf Connexions - 'Thinking Ahead' Yellow Folder - Advance Care Planning - DVD British Sign Language

10.50am - Lorraine Munro. Macmillan Social Worker - Delivering on Advance Care Planning at NNUH

11.10am - Professor Baroness Ilora Finlay, Chair National Council of Palliative Care - The National Picture - Developing and sustaining good coordinated care

11.40am Q&A Panel

12.10am - Plenary Session

Wymondham events

As well as the summit in Norwich, there will be events taking place all over the county to mark the week.

In Wymondham, the week starts off with a performance evening at the Tiffey Room, Central Hall, in Back Lane on Monday, May 8. Starting at 7pm and called 'Are you ready for it?' there will be a short play reading followed by a session on wills. On Tuesday, from 10am to 6pm there will be a stall in the Morrison's foyer, and then again between 10am and 12.30pm, and 2pm to 5.30pm on Wednesday.

On Thursday the film Griefwalker will be shown at 7pm at the Tiffey Room, Central Hall from 7pm, follow by a discussion. And the group will then have stall on Wymondham market on Friday, 9.30am to 12.30pm. On Saturday, at the Central Library, there will be a further opportunity to discuss making preparations for end of life.

For more information, contact Rachelle Wolfe on 01953 856127 or rachelle.wolfe@gmail.com

King's Lynn

At the Queen Elizabeth hospital in King's Lynn, visitors, patients and hospital staff will be encouraged to share items from their 'bucket lists' at the Dying Matters event on Wednesday, May 10.

End of Life Care Facilitator Heike Schaefer is encouraging people to come along and support the event in the hospital foyer, which runs from 9am to 3pm.

She said: 'Discussing death is something that many of us will shy away from, no matter how healthy we are, but this is something which should really change. Death is the one thing that we can all be sure will happen so it is vital that you make sure that it is a 'good death'.

'Speaking openly and frankly with your loved ones about what your final wishes would be is important to ensure they are confident in the decisions they make later.

'I would really like to encourage people to have these conversations and hope they will support the event on May 10.'

Those attending will be asked to share things they'd like to do before they die and add it to a collaborative display plus a representative from Macmillan Cancer Support and the Norfolk Hospice will also be present.

The event will also be looking at grieving and bereavement. The hospital runs a bereavement support group on the second Wednesday of the month in the Sacred Space.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the national awareness week for Dying Matters, click here.

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