Why start this conversation?
We all have stories to share about our experiences and strong views about the end of life care we want for ourselves and our loved ones. Research shows we are still unlikely to have discussed our own wishes with others:
- Care providers and professionals are required to “act in our best interest” if we are unable to speak on our own behalf, Yet…
- Less than a third (29%) of people have discussed their wishes around dying
- 81% of people have not written down any preferences around their own end of life care
- Nearly two-thirds of people (60%) have not written a will – including a quarter (25%) of over-65s
- So it’s not wonder that although 70% of people would prefer to die at home, out of the 500,000 people who die each year in England, 58% currently die in hospitals.
- By 2015, the population of aging and critically ill will be the highest in our lifetime. Our communities and systems will only be equipped to meet our needs with the awareness and engagement of the general public in partnership with the people and organisations that provide care.
- These facts illustrate the importance of talking openly about our wishes whilst we’re still healthy in time to influence our own care.
Our programs are for the living. We are the ones holding or avoiding conversations with family members, friends, patients, clients, and loved ones. We are the ones living with the choices and outcomes of their care. We are the ones who want choices for our last days of living that are different to many of those in the statistics above.
Individuals and families speak of the peace of mind when they’ve known what a loved one wanted for their last days of living. By talking about it while we’re still healthy, we can not only influence our own future care, we can join together in communities to learn about, connect and ensure information and resources are available to support our preferences when we need it most.
The Conversations for Life programme focuses on raising this awareness with individuals and communites, yet the need for this awareness is national. To learn more go to NHS End of Life Care Strategy and the National End of Life Care Programme or the Dying Matters Coalition
Statistics were supplied from research undertaken by NatCen and the Dying Matters Coalition