As part of national Dying Matters week (18-24 May), local health leaders have unveiled a coffin decorated by the community in order to raise awareness of the importance of talking about dying and putting plans in place.
Launched last October, the community coffin project invited everyone to send in poems, favourite quotes, photos and memoirs about death, dying and bereavement. NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Queenscourt Hospice welcomed in entries from local community groups, members of the public, carers and other partners.
Dr Simon Frampton, local GP and board member of West Lancashire CCG, added: “Dying is inevitable for all of us. This project and our end of life work are about removing the stigma surrounding death and encouraging people to have conversations with their loved ones and friends about what they want to happen. Putting plans in place minimises a lot of difficulties and issues when the time comes – not just for us but for our families and those around us.”
The coffin is made of cardboard and was created by national coffin manufacturer Colourful Coffins http://colourfulcoffins.com/. The coffin is available for anyone in West Lancashire such as schools, charities and businesses to borrow when discussing and promoting end of life issues.
Dr Karen Groves, palliative care lead at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and Queenscourt Hospice, added: “There is clearly a reluctance to discuss death and dying. However, that is exactly why we created this coffin with the help from our community. Everyone needs to talk openly about their plans and wishes, whether that is where your pet dog will go after you die, writing a will, planning a funeral or telling someone your preferred place to die. Thank you to everyone who sent in submissions and especially to those who have made their own plans since we started highlighting this fundamental issue.”
To book the coffin or if you would like Dr Groves or a palliative care colleague come and speak to your group or business about advance care planning, please contact the CCG via 01695 588 000 and ask for the communication team.
The coffin project has full support from Queenscourt Hospice and national palliative care organisation Dying Matters. This year Dying Matters Week is all about ‘Talk, Plan, Live’ and more information is available via http://www.dyingmatters.org/YODO #YODO stands for ‘you only die once’.
If you’d like to get more involved in the CCG’s end of life programme, please contact the CCG via firstname.lastname@example.org – if you don’t have email access, please use the phone number above.