Blog By Sharon Foley, CEO, The Irish Hospice Foundation
People deserve the right to die with dignity surrounded by their loved ones and in a setting of their own choice. We only get once chance to die so it’s important to get it right. That’s part of our goal here at the Irish Hospice Foundation.
We believe no one should face death or bereavement without adequate care and support. Our mission is to achieve comfort and choice for all people facing end of life regardless of where they live or illness.
As part of our public engagement process we sat down last year with Limerick Compassionate Communities to figure how we could find out what matters most to the people of Ireland at end of life. And then work towards achieving these wishes on their behalf.
This led to the creation of our Have Your Say campaign where people share their beliefs and wishes on dying, death and bereavement through a survey. It has attracted 2,200 replies since it began mid-September and we’re humbled by the great public interest in our endeavour.
By the time the campaign closes at the end of November we hope to have 3,000 replies which will form the creation of the ‘Irish Charter on Dying, Death and Bereavement 2016’. Published next year, it will be a powerful document to present to Government and state bodies and help us advocate for adequate palliative and end-of-life supports to be enacted.
Our survey is here http://bit.ly/2fzjX0B . Please take some time to reflect before commencing, so you can gather your thoughts. We know that for many people death is not an easy subject to think about so it might be nice to complete the survey whilst drinking a nice mug of tea 🙂
Hard copies are available too from our offices at the Irish Hospice Foundation. Social media has also been key at #haveyoursayirl where you can get a glimpse of the national conversation.
We want to find out what is important to you at end of life, in serious illness, death and bereavement. Your answers will be used to develop the Irish Charter. Thank you to everyone who has already shared their wishes and we’re calling on young and old, male and female to partake so we have a very diverse charter.
We also held four Death Café Conversations recently as part of the campaign. It gave people the opportunity to talk about bereavement and what matters to them at end of life over tea and cake. I attended the gatherings where people talked passionately about a diverse range of things from what type of coffin they would like, wooden or wicker, what better educational supports could be in place to help children deal with death, flowers or donations at a funeral, what about a Last Aid Course?
We will all need care through illness at some point in our lives; and it’s important we understand how the people of Ireland look at death and dying to ensure correct supports are in place. Make sure to have your say on what matters most so we can create a charter for the people; by the people.