Discussions about dying

Starting conversations with loved ones about dying and what you want to happen towards the end of your life can be difficult. However, it is important that your medical team and the people you are closest to know what your wishes are.

You may feel as though you don’t want to upset friends and family anymore than they already are. You may be concerned that they will think you are being morbid or thinking about these decisions too soon. However, many people find making their wishes known can be empowering and feel like a release.

If you start the conversation early, it can make things easier later. Give people time and warn them that you want to have the discussion with them. They may feel relieved that you have mentioned the topic first and time to prepare may be less of a shock. Thinking about where and when to have the conversation makes sure it is a time that you won’t
be interrupted but also there’s no pressure. A long car journey, walking the dog or over dinner are often good times to talk.

Who to discuss your decisions with

Some of the documents that this section discusses can only be signed into action or made by a doctor and therefore your GP or consultant involved in your care will need to be actively involved in the decision making process. Medical professionals can help to answer any questions you may have and ensure that your thoughts meet the criteria to become legal or are clear to any medial staff who encounter them. GP’s, consultants, district and specialist nurses are all well placed to help. Involving friends and family will also make sure that the people close to you are aware of your decisions and may be able to act as witnesses.

How will people know I have made these decisions?

Some people chose to have documents like this all together at home. “Message in a bottle” with all your forms together, placed in the fridge where ambulance crews will know to check for it, could be a good way of doing this.

Making sure that all of the teams involved in your medical care, emergency contacts or trusted friends and family have a copy of your documents is a good way of making sure that wherever you are and whatever happens to you, your wishes are known and respected.