National Endorsements

NHS Cumbria Conversations for Life

This is both a fantastically practical and poignant project which could help thousands of families in Cumbria and beyond. Talking about and planning the care we wish to receive in the final weeks and months of our life is a crucial first step towards the good death.

Health and social care staff, backed by many selfless volunteers, provide care and support to those nearing the end of their lives and their families.

The more that individuals and their families have talked about death, dying and how they wish to be cared for, the more that care can be matched to the individual’s wishes and needs. It will also help staff and volunteers provide bereaved relatives and friends with the support they need, as well as often improving the inner strength and resources which bereaved people can call on to cope with their loved one’s death.

We know that many parts of our society have not yet hurdled the cultural barriers to talking about death and dying. This project is another – very welcome and innovative – leap in that process.

Claire Henry
National Director, National End of Life Care Programme

Community Testimonials

“NHS Cumbria has worked closely with Mary Matthiesen and Conversations for Life to develop a successful pilot programme in Cumbria which has been a catalyst for community awareness and education relating to end of life care and support for dying well. I am delighted that Mary is expanding this work to roll out the programme in other areas. I wish her every success.”

Professor John R. Ashton,
CBE Director of Public Health and County Medical Officer

“I have been involved with the Conversations for Life project as a member of the Steering Committee and I am convinced that this offers a user-friendly evidence-based way of engaging with the public that will help to deliver some of the requirements in the End of Life Care Strategy around public awareness and engagement. St Mary’s Hospice is keen to continue to work with Conversations for Life and hope that the programme can be developed now that the pilot has been shown to be both practical and effective.”

Helen Clayson
Medical Director, Hospice of St. Mary’s of Furness

Professionals Testimonials

“Mary has assisted in our teaching programme for medical students in palliative medicine, specifically in enabling them to confront the meaning of a good death for themselves. To do this she has built on considerable professional experience of end-of-life conversations with healthcare professionals and the public.”

Helen Clayson
Medical Director, Hospice of St. Mary’s of Furness

“I thought you’d be interested in some feedback re: the workshop I did at our conference on ‘Conversations for Life’. Brilliant, informative, thought provoking, stimulating, beautiful… One delegate looks forward to seeing the use of this tool with patients. Of all the workshops at the conference, it has to be said that the Conversations for Life scored the HIGHEST.”

Dawn Tierney
Cumbria Project Steeering Group Member, Chaplain, Eden Valley Hospice
re: Presentation at AHPCC Conference

Professionals Testimonials – Workshops

“Without a doubt, one of the best and most useful learning events I have been on. I am really enthusiastic about using this with my families that I work with.”

“It will reinforce the importance of allowing time for these discussions to take place. And never assume you what a patient wants and what is important to them.”

“Not being afraid to explore the patient’s needs and what the carers’ know about those needs.”

“I’m more empowered to not push the information we provide about end of life to the back.”

Public Testimonials-Workshops

“I went home and talked with my father. He assumed our wishes would be the same. It opened up the conversation to realise that wasn’t the case.”

“Thank you. I’ve just told my daughter things we’ve never talked about. It always seems like there will be the ‘right time’. There really isn’t any ‘right time’ is there?”

“My husband and I are going to go through the materials together and then call a family meeting. We don’t want anyone to question what we would want and now realise they would unless we talk about it.”

“I learned how important it is to say what I like and dislike in case I cannot communicate to carers. This workshop has been inspirational. Thank you.”

Archived Blog Posts
Conversations for Life
CFL for Individuals
CFL for Professionals
CFL for Educators
CFL for Communities
CFL for Commissioners
CFL for Partners and Sponsors
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Testimonials &
National Endorsements

"This is both a fantastically practical and poignant project which could help thousands of families..."


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