BLOG Are your plans in place?

May 2021


When was the last time you talked about death and dying with those you love?  In our latest blog during Dying Matters Awareness Week, Prospect Hospice specialist palliative care social worker Lizzie Smith encourages you to share your wishes for the future.


Death shouldn’t be a taboo subject. It’s part of life and we should be talking about it.

But statistics released by Dying Matters, the movement run by Hospice UK, show that nearly a quarter of adults in the UK are uncomfortable thinking and talking about their own death and end of life issues.

The figures suggest that 74% of people haven’t written down their wishes or told people closest to them what they would prefer at the end of their life.

For me death and dying has been part of normalised conversations I’ve had all my life from when I was growing up, sitting around the dinner table with my parents, and now with my children. Death has always been a normal part of living.

When we are comfortable sharing our thoughts, feelings and wishes about the end of our life it allows us to live better and more fully.

At Prospect Hospice and within our community we are involved in supporting people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. We help them to talk openly and honestly with the people that matter to them and encourage them to share what is important and what their future wishes are.

I would encourage you to think about your plans for when you die. If you think about these things when you are well it takes the pressure off you and your family when you are dying.

Sorting out the practicalities while you have the energy and capacity will make it easier for you and your loved ones so they don’t have to worry about it.

Without a plan in place your family will, for example, have to guess what you would have wanted at your funeral service – what songs to play, what you will wear and the dress code for the guests. This can bring additional stress for them while they are grieving.

To help you formulate your future plans and sharing them with your loved ones, here are some questions to think about;

*Where do you want to die? – at home, in a hospice, in a hospital or care home?

*When you are approaching the end of your life, how do you want to be cared for? – what medical support do you want? Are there any medical procedures or treatments you don’t want? Do you have a preference for who cares for you? Do you want any spiritual support?

*After you have died, what do you want to happen? – what sort of funeral do you want? Do you want your organs to be donated to help others? Do you want to donate your body to science? Have you made a Will, is it up to date and where is it?

Making a plan and having these conversations now with your family means you and they are prepared. Your wishes will be known and your family can carry them out.


Lizzie Smith is a specialist palliative care social worker at Prospect Hospice alongside her colleague David Haigh and they work as part of the family support team. They provide practical, social, psychological and emotional support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

 *For more information, including thinking about your wishes before you die, visit the Dying Matters website by clicking here

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