Communication is key to breaking down barriers around death and dying conversations

Communication and the language used around dying, death and bereavement will be the talking point at this year’s Dying Matters Awareness event.

An event hosted by three Swansea Bay services will give people an opportunity to have conversations around these stages of life, aiming to break the stigma around a subject many feel is too difficult to discuss.

Featured Image: Care After Death Service Manager Kimberley Hampton-Evans.

Swansea Bay University Health Board’s End of Life Parasol Service, Care After Death Service and the Ty Olwen Trust will be on hand to discuss important subjects around death and to encourage people to talk about death – whether it’s for themselves, supporting someone planning for end of life, or recently bereaved.

This year’s event is set to be the biggest yet, with the mortuary service and a number of local firms and third sector bereavement support providers also attending.

Alongside the main event at Swansea Waterfront Museum on May 10, the health board is also hosting sessions around its hospitals in order to reach as many people as possible throughout Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 6-12).

PICTURED: End of Life Parasol Clinical Nurse Specialists Philippa Bolton and Glenda Morris along with support worker Sarah Romano (centre).

Kimberley Hampton-Evans, Care After Death Service Manager, said: “The theme this year is language because the conversations we have are important. But it’s also important to be mindful of the language we use, the vocabulary, the use of euphemisms and so on that can be unhelpful or hurtful to others, especially if they are suffering as result of bereavement or an impending death of a loved one.

“Honest, timely discussions about death and dying are so important, they can transform the end of someone’s life and give family and friends clarity over what to expect.

“Whether it’s with healthcare professionals, family, friends or colleagues, we’re encouraging everyone to have these important conversations and to think about the words we use to have them. We hope that speaking honestly about death means that people get the information and support they need, when they need it.

“This is what our event is all about, and with the growing number of organisations getting involved each year and the rise in attendance, it shows that it is not seen as so much of a taboo subject now.”

Philippa Bolton, End of Life Parasol Clinical Nurse Specialist, added: “There are barriers when we try to have conversations with patients, carers and even our own families about death and dying.

“Sometimes it can be a lack of confidence or just the taboo about discussing death.

“For this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week we want to encourage the public to talk about having those end of life conversations because they are essential to good end of life care.

“We have a very large range of health board services and local organisations attending the main event and our smaller scale events on hospital sites so that staff, patients and the public can talk openly about dying, death and bereavement and get the information they need.”

The health board’s Dying Matters Awareness Week event will be held between 10am-1pm on Friday, May 10 at Swansea Waterfront Museum.

Other dates and venues include:
Singleton Hospital from 1pm on May 3
Neath Port Talbot Hospital from 10am on May 8

Everyone is welcome to attend.

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