Health chiefs urge communities to talk about dying, death and bereavement

Health chiefs from NHS East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (ELR CCG) are urging communities to talk about dying, death and bereavement as part of Dying Matters Week (14 to 20 May).

It’s not always easy to know how to talk about dying because it can be awkward, embarrassing and upsetting. However, by talking openly, accessing support services and making plans for the end of life, communities can provide vital support to people who may otherwise be feeling isolated and afraid.

The focus of this year’s Dying Matters Week is ‘What can you do in your community?’ People can get involved with their local communities in a number of ways.  They can volunteer at a local hospice or charity, help somebody affected by dying or bereavement by supporting them with daily activities, getting involved with support groups or by simply talking about the issue.

Dr Hilary Fox, GP and End of Life Clinical Lead at ELR CCG said: “It is really important for communities to start conversations and connect with those who are dying or those who are grieving because not talking can increase feelings of isolation, loneliness and distress.

“We know that two out of three people don’t talk to someone about how or where they would like to die and they’re more likely to begin to talk when a relative or friend is dying.

“Local communities can encourage early conversations, make people aware of support services available and become involved with local support organisations.”

Bereavement can happen unexpectedly and can affect people in different ways. But by being planned, the situation can be improved by becoming more manageable. Dying Matters’ checklist of five important things to think about includes: 

Dr. Fox added: “Planning ahead is sensible and can help the dying person, their family and friends immensely, particularly during an already difficult time.

“We are all affected by bereavement at some time in our lives and it’s important to remember that plenty of help is available. If your daily life is significantly affected due to bereavement you should book an appointment with your GP. Your GP will be able to offer advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor or prescribe medication if needed.”

For further information about the awareness week or to find support organisations nearest to you, visit