19th October 2022
Newark death café to tackle taboos around death and dying
Nottinghamshire Hospice has teamed up with Beaumond House Hospice to host a Death Café in Newark next month aimed at opening up discussions about death and dying and breaking down taboos.
To spark the conversation, attendees will discuss a set of questions ranging from ‘What music would you like played at your funeral,’ to ‘what would you like written on your gravestone’.
Kate Martin, Palliative Care Lead at Nottinghamshire Hospice, who has organised the event said: “There’s still a big taboo about talking about death and dying, but breaking that taboo now can make things much easier when it comes to the end of life of a loved one.
“Having those conversations early on can mean that when a family member approaches the end of their life, everyone is clear about what their wishes are.”
Preparing for the death of a loved one
Kate, who lost her own partner to cancer in recent years, added: “Speaking both professionally and personally, having experienced first-hand the death of a partner, I know that preparing for your own death or the death of a loved one can be quite terrifying.
“It’s a subject people avoid, but it’s important to remember that talking about death doesn’t make it come any quicker. The more prepared we and those around us are, the less worry and more control we have, and the more personal it can be.
“The death café is an opportunity to look at all these aspects in a safe, relaxed environment and start to break the taboo about talking about death.”
Series of events
The Newark event follows a successful death café held at Nottinghamshire Hospice in the summer.
Alex Henderson, who attended the Nottingham event, said: “I’d never been to a death café before and I found it really interesting. I went because my dad is chronically ill and I want to be able to talk about death with my parents, but they are resistant to discussing it.
“It was useful to speak to other people who have addressed this with their own relatives and to discuss practical tools for discussing death like working through a life book which lists everything you have to document before someone dies, such as bank account numbers and where things are stored in the house.
“It was also interesting to talk to people who were recently bereaved. Some had discussed death with their loved ones, others hadn’t. Those who’d had those conversations felt better placed to deal with the death when it came.”
Care staff and volunteers from both Nottinghamshire Hospice and Beaumond House will be on hand at the death café event to guide discussions and answer questions.
Louise Sinclair, Head of Clinical Services at Beaumond House, said: “When someone is approaching the end of their life it’s really important to have an advance care plan in place which lets healthcare professionals and family members know what their wishes are, whether they want people around them at the end, where they’d like their final resting place to be, even what songs they’d like played at their funeral.
“It also allows people to specify if they’d rather die at home, in hospital or in a hospice, and if there are specific treatments they wouldn’t want to have.”
End of life choices
Both hospices provide Hospice at Home care – enabling patients to stay at home at the end of their lives.
Both have teams of Registered Nurses and Healthcare Assistants who can talk through all these aspects with families as well as providing the care and support at home when they need it.
The Newark death café is the second in a series of events planned across the city and county in the coming months.