The bereavement team from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is hosting Death Cafés across Morecambe Bay to encourage people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
The ‘My Last Orders’ events are being held in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal to celebrate and support Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs from May 9 to 15.
At these cafés, material from a course devised by the Church of England called ‘Grave Talk’ will be used.
Grave Talk is a set of cards divided in to five colour coded categories – life, death, society, funerals and grief.
Each set includes questions such as: What has been most important to you in life? If you could ask one question of someone you love who has died, what would it be? Would you wear bright colours to a funeral?
Ian Dewar, chaplain at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, said: “Talking about death and dying is not something that we, as a society, do very well. Research that was carried out for Dying Matters Awareness Week last year showed that only 27 per cent of people had let someone know their funeral wishes, and only seven per cent had written down wishes or preferences about the care they would want if they couldn’t make decisions.
“The whole point of Dying Matters Awareness Week is to help people understand how important it is to start having conversations with our loved ones about death and dying. We want people to feel more comfortable discussing their wishes with loved ones so they can decide what is right for them. The first step of this is encouraging an open and honest discussion.
“The ‘My Last Orders’ Cafés are not designed to look at the medical structures around end of life, but to simply create space for questions and reflection. The material we use does not require any religious faith to engage with it, but will start some important, and sometimes, life changing conversations.”
The cafés will take place on:
May 10: Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness, 12pm-2pm
May 11: Town Hall, Kendal, 10.30am, 12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm
May 12: Storey Institute, Lancaster, 10am-12pm
People can also get involved in the conversation on Twitter. Throughout the week, the questions that form part of the Grave Talk card set will be shared via the trust’s Twitter account @UHMBT using the hashtag #MyLastOrders.
For more information about Dying Matters, visit http://www.dyingmatters.org/