Do you plan for the end of life or plan to just let it happen?
End of Life...
These are dark words for so many people. Words that appear never to get spoken until sometimes we are at the very last stages of our lives or with another who is.
Loss is another word that we find so difficult to talk about!
For me, I have struggled. I struggled ultimately to identify with my feelings in so many ways. I have experienced much loss In the space of 6 years, I lost my sister, my mum, two nans, and a grandad, and each and every death came too quickly. Sadly also, the co-production and advance care planning awareness I was faced with by those caring was poor, and disorganized, all of which makes me more determined to raise the level of care and knowledge of Care Professionals to make a difference and enhance the level of care people experience during their most vulnerable days.
I wasn't prepared to come to terms with my grandparent's passing, I was shocked and still am at my sister's passing, and my Mum, I still find extremely difficult to talk about. I never got to say the best of goodbyes to all of them and I often wish I could turn back time and try the end again, but as we all know, once the time has passed, it's passed.
Loss and death are something everyone experiences differently, it's never the same for two people, people grieve in different ways and not everyone has the support network around them that so often can help at incredibly difficult times.
The support from local hospices is indeed incredible and the dedication shown by palliative care nurses is comforting, however, do we know how to access these services, and are you guided correctly by your local authority, in most instances, I hope the answer is YES to this, however, sadly, I am aware of many experiences in which the answer is NO.
There are some great theories out there that help support us to understand the grief we experience when we suffer loss, for example, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross believes there is a pathway that grief follows in 5 - 7 stages and you can read more about this here: Five Stages Of Grief - Understanding the Kubler-Ross Model (psycom.net) or in another article written by Karen Rolden, she believes there are indeed 12 stages of grieve we each experience and you can read about them here: 12 Stages of the Grieving Process (There's More Than 5??) » Urns | Online (usurnsonline.com)
Whilst these models have been extremely influential and used widely throughout the world, it is important to remember that the experience of grief is individualized. Grief aka your grief, will not follow a prescriptive route, we can't always plan for what is going to happen next and just because you might identify to find yourself at stage 3 in the grieving cycle, this doesn't mean stage 4 is next.
But why don't we talk about death and dying? Why do we leave it till the last minute to openly talk about our feelings, wishes, our wants, and desires?
For me, I used to be scared of dying, I was scared of the unknown, and I didn't and still don't know what to expect when that time comes, however living through the past 6 years has taught me that actually, death is a natural part of life, and I am tired of being scared. I want to now focus my efforts on planning for that final journey for myself and my family so that we have what I could consider being a "good death". A death where my wishes are heard and met, a death in which I am free from pain, and my dignity and privacy are at the heart of those that will someday care for me and my family.
I wonder what a good death would look like to you? We all have our own beliefs and values and these should be held with integrity by those caring for us, however, if people don't know your wishes, how can your loved ones make sure your final journey looks like it should?
We spend so much time planning our lives, planning our holidays, and making memories but we never stop to plan our end of life, WE should right?? It's the last journey we will make in the world we know, I believe we should plan for our last stages of life, just like we plan for a holiday, it is a natural part of life, after all, Death doesn't have to be a last thought and death doesn't have to always be said with a negative undertone.
There you have it, it has taken me a long time to be able to say the word death so many times in one sentence, but I am working hard to reduce the unsaid words and encourage us all to #Let's talk about it! What's the worst that can happen and on a more positive note, what good could come out of talking about it, well, lots actually!
T.E.A Training is proud to deliver End of Life Care training. This training is designed to help us recognise different faiths, religions, and practices when it comes to supporting a client and their family who may be at the last stages of their life and is designed to support the implementation of advance care planning and the importance of true person-centered care. The feedback from these courses has been truly breathtaking, so if you have been considering undertaking an End of Life Course, or require an update on your existing knowledge, why not get in touch with T.E.A today!
We will be more than happy to support you in your journey to build on your knowledge and expertise!
I would love to hear from you!