Introduction Annually at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital (ASPH) we hold an event to promote dying matters week. This aims to remove the stigma of talking about death and dying within our community. In 2019, dying matters week theme was ‘Are we ready?’.
Methods The Specialist Palliative care team (SPCT) designed a survey to gauge if the ASPH community ‘were ready?’. We asked questions including: have you cared for someone who was dying?, did you feel ready?, have you thought about future wishes? i.e. medical treatment, how would you like to be cared for?, where you would like to be cared for?, most importantly have you discussed these wishes with those important to you? The survey was distributed to all areas of the hospital.
Results 80 surveys were returned: 56 (70%) Staff, 1 (1%) patient, 4 (5%) Carer/family member, 3 (4%) Visitor, 16 (20%) not completed. 86% were aged 20–60 which is representative of the ASPH community. Of the respondents 57% felt ready to care for someone who was dying. However only 45% had thought about how they would like to be medically treated at the end of life (EOL) and 38% knew where they would like to be cared for at the EOL. Only 50% of respondents had discussed this with those important to them.
Conclusions As a healthcare community we are faced with the challenges of illness, uncertainty and death every day. However we are poor at considering our future EOL care. Despite having an awareness of the importance of sharing our thoughts with our loved ones we only do this half the time. By openly talking about death and dying we encourage our community to do the same. The hope is this will allow us to do better when talking to our patients.
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