A Good Death

AS THE UK takes the top spot for end-of-life care, Cornwall’s health and social care watchdog heads up a review of the county’s services.

On Friday, January 29, Healthwatch Cornwall, the independent organisation that represents people’s views on health and social care services, is hosting its A Good Death Conference for professionals working within the sector at St Austell Business Centre from 9am to 4pm.

Chief Executive Debbie Pritchard said: “We conducted research in early 2015 into Cornwall's end-of-life support and from this five recommendations were made, including the need for professionals to address any gaps in service or issues they faced on a day-to-day basis.

“This has led to our conference, which we are optimistic will lead to an End-of-Life Charter for Cornwall based on the feedback from professionals attending on the day.

“It is fantastic to have the backing of so many of the county’s end-of-life care providers and commissioners as well as support from local MPs and councillors.

“We hope that the event will not only highlight our work in instigating positive developments in county but also go on to ensure the UK retains its reputation as a good place to receive considerate and compassionate care when you are dying.”

The conference will be opened by Sarah Newton MP, and will include a variety of presentations from consultants, GPs, carers, hospice staff, community services, and examples of out-of-county practice as well as workshops for professionals to discuss their views and lay the foundation for the End-of-Life Charter.

Sarah Newton MP said: “From my personal experience of close family members’ deaths and listening to my constituents I know how important enabling a good death is.

“I am delighted that Healthwatch Cornwall has organised this conference, drawing on people's experience locally and nationally that could enable the development of a Cornwall End-of-Life Charter.

“I fully support the aims of the Charter and think it will enable better joined up working and support for people in Cornwall."

People can also attend a public event from 1pm to 4pm on the same day at the venue, which has been arranged in association with Talking Outside of the Box, an organisation that encourages people to talk candidly about death.

The public session will include four workshops covering the topics preparing for a funeral and how to ensure your legal and emotional wishes are honoured, but as spaces are limited they will be available on a first come, first served basis.

There will also be an art exhibition, A Graceful Death, showcasing intimate portraits of people during the final stages of their life or at the time of death by artist Antonia Rolls.

There will also be emotional support available and information stands from organisations such as Children’s Hospice South West, Cornwall Hospice Care, Cruse Bereavement Care, Marie Curie, and Cornwall Carers’ Service.

The UK ranks top of 40 countries measured in the Quality of Death Index, as indicated in the 2015 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Visit healthwatchcornwall.co.uk/event/a-good-death-cornwalls-end-of-life-conference/ to find out more about this report and the professionals’ conference or alternatively call 0800 0381 281.