As my mum, my hospice nurse and I sat going through the plan and documenting my wishes, I suddenly blurted out that I was scared I'd die and be forgotten, that nothing would be different or better because of me and my life wouldn't have meant anything. It even surprised me, what I'd said, as I'd not consciously ever really thought about that. That sudden exclamation would change my life.
It is important that more people are aware about the benefits of hospice care. This will become ever more urgent in the future as our ageing population increases, with more people living for longer, often with complex health conditions. In addition, more children and young people with life-shortening conditions are living for longer due to advances in medical care.
Negative thinking has an equal place and should never be suppressed or substituted. As human beings, we are not wired to ignore bad things and it is important to face up to the one fact that is undeniable: we are all going to die.
This week saw the launch of new research showing stark variation in palliative care provision across different services and
To have the option of an assisted death in this country would relieve intolerable suffering for terminally ill people. It would allow them to wrestle back control from illnesses that are taking everything from them. It would represent true choice at the end of life.
It is easy in our work to forget the impact we can have on those we care for, as it is something we all love doing. It is an immense privilege spending time with people towards the end of their lives and such rewarding work. Sometimes though, there are extra special moments and that Christmas day was one of them.
I was reminded of the valued contribution of the charity sector and its volunteers to end of life care when I recently met with a local Marie Curie Helper volunteer, who was providing incredible support and companionship to a constituent affected by a terminal illness.