Events are being held across the country in order to raise awareness of the My Life, My Decision project which supports older people to plan ahead for their future medical treatment.

My Life, My Decision is an outreach service set up by Compassion in Dying in partnership with seven local Age UKs across England, and offers support to over-50s in making their end-of-life wishes for treatment and care known.

The events are part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week (18-24 May 2015), which has been organised by the Dying Matters Coalition to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement. The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 is ‘Talk, Plan, Live’, emphasising that we only get one chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it’s vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life.

My Life, My Decision has been working nationwide since 2014 when it secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund after a successful pilot in East London. The project offers one-to-one support for people who want to discuss and plan their treatment and care options, including information and support to make an Advance Decision, Advance Statement or appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare.

Davina Hehir, Director of Services at Compassion in Dying, said:
“We have seen real progress since the start of My Life, My Decision with people becoming empowered to make their own decisions about their future care and treatment.

“Everyone should have their wishes respected but currently there is a lack of awareness around end-of-life rights and people are not making these wishes known. Only 4% of the public have recorded their treatment preferences in an Advance Decision. My Life, My Decision has begun to change this. Professionals and volunteers are being trained so that they can help give people the information they need to plan ahead.

“Dying Matters week is a great opportunity for people to find out more about how they can plan for the end of life. Talking about dying is the first step. My Life, My Decision supports people to take the next step and record their preferences for end-of-life care in an Advance Statement or through a legally binding Advance Decision or Lasting Power of Attorney, so that if something happens and they can’t communicate, doctors know about and respect their wishes.”

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Compassion in Dying

For media enquiries on the My Life, My Decision project nationally, or Compassion in Dying please contact Compassion in Dying Press Officer Mickey Charouneau: michael.charouneau@compassionindying.org.uk / 020 7479 7732.

Compassion in Dying is a national charity (no. 1120203) that aims to support people at the end of life to have what they consider to be a good death by providing information and support around their legal rights and choices. We are a leading provider of free Advance Decisions in the UK and we also conduct and review research around patient rights and choices in end-of-life care.

Compassion in Dying is the sister organisation of Dignity in Dying and was set up to help people exercise their rights and choices under the current law. The charity does not campaign for a change in the law on assisted dying.

For more information on Compassion in Dying visit: www.compassionindying.org.uk.

 

Dying Matters Coalition
For further information on the Dying Matters Coalition or events during Dying Matters Awareness Week, please call freephone 08000 214466 or email info@dyingmatters.org, or visit the website at www.dyingmatters.org.

Set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009, the Dying Matters Coalition aims to encourage people to talk about their own end of life issues with friends, family and loved ones in order to make ‘a good death’ possible for the 500,000 people who die in England each year.

Dying Matters will be encouraging members of the public to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are:

  • Write your will
  • Record your funeral wishes
  • Plan your future care and support
  • Consider registering as an organ donor
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes

The comments in this release represent the views of Compassion in Dying and do not necessarily represent the views of the Dying Matters Coalition or other member organisations.