MORE people are being urged to make plans for their funerals after it was revealed that many relatives are unclear about what their loved ones’ wishes are.
A study by the Dying Matters Coalition found that discussing dying and making end-of-life plans remains a taboo for many people. The study discovered that 83% of people in Great Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying and death.
As a result of this reluctance more than half of those with a partner (51%) say they are unaware what their loved one’s wishes are. Only 29% of people were found to have let someone know their funeral plans.
The chief executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care, Claire Henry, said it was in everyone’s interest to start talking about death.
She said: “Dying is one of life’s few certainties, but many of us appear to be avoiding discussing it or in denial altogether. Talking more openly about dying and planning ahead is in everyone’s interests as it can help ensure we get our wishes met and make it easier for our loved ones. You only die once, which is why it’s so important to make your wishes known while there’s still time.”
The study also found that 36% of adults have written a will, while just over a third of people have registered as organ donors.
The attitudes of doctors were also examined in the survey. It found that three quarters of GPs had talked to patients about death, although many doctors expressed a strong desire that they should receive special training to prepare them for holding such discussions.
The chair of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care, Professor Mayur Lakhani, said although it was encouraging that increasing numbers of doctors are discussing end-of-life wishes with patients “there’s still a long way to go”.
Professor Lakhani, who is a practising GP, added: “What we need now is a national conversation about dying, so that healthcare professionals and the general public become more comfortable in discussing dying, death and bereavement. Dying matters, so let’s talk about it.”
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