We need to talk more about our death – Healthwatch Norfolk report

John Stillwell/PA Wire

John Stillwell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

We need to talk about death – that is the finding of a health watchdog's report into end-of-life care in Norfolk and Waveney.

Healthwatch Norfolk's report looked at what people think about end-of-life care and how services can help plan for their final few months.

And, while 74pc of people said they were comfortable talking about death, nearly half (46pc) had not discussed their end of life wishes with anyone else, including their friends and family.

Experts point out advance planning, including people saying what they would like to happen at the end of their lives, what they do not want to happen and who will speak for them if they are unable to, improves end of life care.

But Healthwatch Norfolk's report says there is still a long way to go until there is a consistent and joined-up approach across all services.

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The report follows extensive research by Sue Spooner from the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy.

The survey showed people felt it was 'difficult to know' if their wishes for end of life care would be respected and nearly a third feared if they wrote down their preferences, doctors would stop treatment sooner.

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William Armstrong, chairman of Healthwatch Norfolk board of trustees, said: 'Death is the one great inescapable fact. Those people who have given some thought to the type of care they want and expressed their wishes are more likely to have those wishes fulfilled and their families are more likely to cope better.

'This report highlights the importance of end-of-life care services and this will definitely be an ongoing priority for Healthwatch Norfolk.'

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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