Health Minister Mark Drakeford urges people in Wales to talk about death
Professor Mark Drakeford, pictured, Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Government is among the speakers at an event in Cardiff today (Thursday) organised by Byw Nawr (Live Now) – Dying Matters in Wales, which aims to get more people starting important conversations and planning ahead for the end of life. Other speakers at the event include Dr Hywel Francis, the Chair of Byw Nawr, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and James Norris, the Chief Executive of DeadSocial.org and an expert in digital legacy.
The Minister said: "We make plans for life’s biggest events – births, graduations and weddings – but all too often we hide away from the one which will have the biggest impact on the people we love.
It is vital we talk
"It is vital we talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of our lives before it’s too late. It is only through open and honest conversations that our wishes will be known. That’s why I want to encourage people to have conversations with their families, friends, carers and healthcare professionals about their end-of-life wishes. This will support us all in thinking about our own mortality and help us support as good a death as possible for each of us.
"The more conversations and the more planning we can do, the better care we can offer at the end of life. Planning for end of life means we are more likely to achieve the care and, ultimately, the death we would wish for."
Don't leave it too late
Dr Hywel Francis, Chair of Byw Nawr, added: "Life is for living, but is also very unpredictable. That’s why it’s so important not to leave it too late to start that big conversation. Make your plans and share your wishes. Whether it’s through writing a will, discussing how you want to be cared for at the end of your life or sharing stories with your loved ones, talking more openly about life and death can help you to live well until the very end."
The calls come as new ComRes research for Byw Nawr (Live Now) and the Dying Matters Coalition finds that although the majority of people surveyed in Wales think it is more acceptable to talk about dying now than it was 10 years ago, discussing dying and making end of life plans remains a taboo for many people. Only a minority of people in Wales have written a will, taken out life insurance, written down their wishes or preferences about their future care or asked a family member about their end of life wishes.
Blog by Dr Hywel Francis MP: Byw Nawr: Live now... but plan for the inevitable!