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Dying matters 2021 news6a3d54aa 68d1 47c8 a2ce 8d324fbb73c6

Are You #InaGoodPlace to Die?

Dying Matters Awareness Week 10th – 16th May

Where people die is changing. More and more people have been dying at home in recent years. And the pandemic has seen this number leap by tens of thousands.

There is no right or wrong place to die; it will be different for everyone. But it is important for families to think about it, to talk about it and to plan for it.

We want people of all ages to be in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally and with the right care in place.

Getting there means having some important conversations and taking some careful decisions. Make sure that you and your loved ones are in a good place to die and watch our Q&A on Friday 14th May at 2pm to find out more about how you can start Advance Care Planning.

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Send your questions in to our resident experts!

On Friday 14th May at 2pm we will be holding a special Advance Care Planning Q&A “Everything you wanted to know about Advance Care Planning but were afraid to ask!” with Dr Ros Marvin, Consultant in Palliative Medicine and Dr Sarah Bell, Medical Director at Garden House Hospice Care.

Advance Care Planning covers things such as where you would want to be cared for, where you would want to be when you die, resuscitation, the kind of medical care you would or wouldn’t want, Lasting Power of Attorney and organ donation. It can also cover making a will and funeral arrangements or in fact anything that will be important to you and you want others to know.

For more information, and to submit your questions click here.

#InAGoodPlace

Sarah Valentine’s Story

“When my Dad received a terminal diagnosis at the beginning of 2017 we began to think about what the future would look like and Dad began to make plans to be in a good place. There were lots of upsetting conversations, but it was very important for him to be in control and share his final wishes with us. For us this meant the decision was made for Dad to enter into the Inpatient Unit at Garden House Hospice Care, where he passed peacefully in November of that year, surrounded by his family and the supportive specialist care team.

“There is no one size fits all plan for being in a good place to die so it’s important to discuss with family and friends and work out what is best for you, every situation is different. Being in a good place doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially too.

“It can be writing a will, thinking about organ donation, discussing funeral arrangements from music played to readings.

“In the months that my Dad became closer to the end of his life, he began to write letters and the one he wrote me is now one of my most cherished possessions. He also said he wasn’t ready to go until he’d completed a final jigsaw that my Aunt and Uncle bought (of a beautiful garden). He finished it the day before he passed and it’s framed in their house.

“Whilst my Dad completed his jigsaw, two of my favourite musicians Leonard Cohen and David Bowie both planned their magnum opus’ when they knew they were nearing the end, both releasing final albums just days before their passing. I’m not sure there’s a more iconic image that springs to mind when I think about the subject than David Bowie in his hospital bed in the music video for ‘Lazarus’ from his last album ‘Blackstar’, a parting gift to fans from a distinctively private pop star. Or Cohen singing “I'm ready, my Lord” in ‘You Want It Darker’ his final single.

“We only die once but we live every day and continue to live on in those that we leave behind. I read recently that ‘Grief is Love, with nowhere to go’ which I think is a very honest sentiment. In preparing to be in a good place to die you can also prepare loved ones for the grieving process and make them feel more supported in knowing that they are carrying out wishes you planned together.

“I certainly found strength myself in listening to ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness at my Dad’s funeral, a song that had meant a lot to us throughout his life and continues to mean even more to me now he is no longer around. I decided to have it as my first dance 3 years later at my wedding and it did add his presence to the day despite him not being physically there.“

We're here for you and your family too

At Garden House Hospice Care, we believe in living well and enjoying life to the end of your days.

We support our patients, their families and carers through a terminal diagnosis offering a hand to hold and a listening ear to our community of North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and surrounding towns and villages in Central Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Supporting children and young people

The serious illness or death of someone close can have a huge impact on a child or young person. With the right support and information however, children and young people can be helped to understand what has happened and learn to move forward in a positive way. There are some simple ways which can make a real difference to you and to a grieving child. Visit our Family Support page for more information on the services available for the young ones in our lives.

How do I make a Will?

For the first time ever, we will be running our Make a Will campaign with a select group of solicitors throughout the year. Local solicitors will waive their usual fees (often starting at around £220 for a basic will), in exchange for a donation to Garden House Hospice Care. To find out more, visit our Make a Will page.

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