Background Death is universal. Only 37% of adults have a will and 48% have stated their wishes regarding cremation or burial.1 Planning and communication can help prevent some of the distress associated with dying and bereavement.
Aim To evaluate an intervention to encourage people to plan for the end of their life and to communicate their wishes to those closest to them.
Method Two interventions were delivered via community groups:
‘Awareness’ presentations aimed to raise awareness of benefits of preparing and talking about end of life issues.
‘How to’ workshops aimed to give people confidence and tools to open relevant conversations. To evaluate their impact, we conducted a 3-stage questionnaire survey; administered before, immediate after and 3 months after events.
Results At baseline (n = 498; 76% female) 76% had previously discussed end of life care or wishes after death. Most were comfortable talking about these subjects, giving a mean score of 8.28/10. At follow-up (n = 133); 60% indicated they had made changes following the event; 43% had talked about their own end of life wishes, 9% for the first time; and 39% reported making other changes. The change in the proportion of people who had ever talked about their own end of life wishes was statistically significant (p = 0.033).
Conclusion Well designed community events can improve planning and communication of end of life preferences among general population.
Dying Matters Survey http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/Dying_Matters_Public_April12.pdf
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