THE Manx government is giving its support for the first time to the annual Dying Matters Awareness Week which is running throughout this week.
The aim of the week, which this year has a theme of ‘Why dying matters to me', is to raise awareness and generate debate on dying and death. The Isle of Man’s End of Life Care Project Facilitator, Kirstie Turner, will be running an information stand in the Strand Shopping Centre on Friday and Saturday May 20-21.
Kirstie Turner said, “I’ve been is post for almost six months now, and work is progressing well on developing an End of Life Care Strategy for the Isle of Man. Whilst this work is ongoing, there’s still so much we need to be doing now, to help those dealing with death. Our support for Dying Matters Week recognises this.”
The display stand will consist of posters, information leaflets and a short film, as well as being manned by professionals such as Kirstie, ensuring people are on hand to discuss the sensitive and often taboo subject of dying.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, added, “Developing an End of Life Care Strategy is of significant importance to the Department, which is why Kirstie was appointed, thanks to generous funding for the post from Macmillan Cancer Support.
“Our strategy and indeed Dying Matters Week itself have the shared aim of stimulating debate and helping people learn more about how to cope with death and view it as a natural part of the human life-cycle. Many of us often have specific wishes or an idea of how we’d like to die and what we’d like to happen afterwards, but people don’t talk about it.”
Kirstie Turner added, “One quote that that always remains with me and which I say time and again is from Dame Cicely Saunders – ‘How people die remains in the memory of those who live on’.
“So, ensuring that people’s wishes are discussed, known and respected is paramount, that and making dying a subject that is talked about and no longer seen as taboo, will ensure that those of us left behind have more positive memories of the experience and the knowledge that a loved-one’s wishes prevailed.”
In the summer, the Department is planning to consult the public. A questionnaire will be published to gather views about death, dying and bereavement. The results will feed into the development of the Island’s first End of Life Care Strategy.