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Planning and choices towards the end of life – findings from a raising public awareness campaign
  1. Sharon Quinn1 and
  2. Deb Hickey2
  1. 1Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Foundation Trust Essex UK
  2. 2St Lukes Hospice Essex UK


In response to the National End of Life Care Strategy, and the Dying Matters campaign, the authors ran a raising public awareness campaign from March 2010 to February 2011.


  • Gather public views and raise awareness of end of life care while informing members of the community and providers of health and social care of the opportunities and choices available to those with life-limiting disease.

  • Compare knowledge of local views with national findings and use this local knowledge to help inform and underpin the locality end of life care strategy.

A series of public events and road shows were staged, proving a very successful way to engage the public in discussion about death and dying and the importance of identifying future wishes. An End of Life care planning and choice questionnaire was used as a vehicle for this discussion. The questionnaire was also used with a range of health professionals allow some interesting comparisons.

A total of 304 questionnaires have been analysed.

Some of the initial findings include 86% of those who had completed questionnaires had talked to their family and friends, however less than 1% had discussed this with any Healthcare Professional. 60% of people hadn't made a will (53% of the professionals group).

The majority of people felt conversations around these issues should take place either when the person is well or diagnosed with a life-limiting illness but still well, however the majority of conversations still happen when people are very ill. Many eluded to missed opportunities for this to take place when they had had contact with health professionals.

Healthcare professionals should be much more pro-active in starting discussions when people are well and when they are first diagnosed.

The GP was often identified as the prime professional to do this.

Healthcare professionals responded in similar ways to the general public to most questions.

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