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Dying Matters Week – Survey Results

As you may know, the charity recently released a survey as part of Dying Matters Week. This survey is designed to capture how our community feels about issues surrounding end of life care and bereavement. Covid-19 has dramatically changed the way we have been able to care for, and grieve for, our loved ones and we, as a cancer charity, intend on using the answers provided to help us to develop and guide our services and policies in the future. 

The whole focus is on living well and planning well if you wish and the important thing is to open up the discussion. Talking about death doesn’t make it happen and it can take away a lot of fear, anxiety and worries that people may help. Involving your health care team can help if anything needs to be planned in terms of specific plans. It’s always useful to think about what you would want and share that information just in case you are not in a position to make a decision at the time.

We have now received quite a number of responses and, while the full analysis will take some time, we would like to share some preliminary findings with you. Remember, the survey is still open so please do feel free to complete it if you haven’t yet. You can find it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K5YNPCV

Preliminary results: 

Who is completing our survey? The majority of respondents are  female and from catholic/chistian background. We would love more men and other faiths get involved so please do get involved if you feel comfortable to.

How many people have close experience of death or a life-limiting illness? 

  • Over 75% have had a friend/close relative diagnosed with a life limiting illness
  • 67% have been involved in the care of a loved one during the last few months of life.

 I think this is quite a high percentage and I feel that it reflects the close knit, family centred, compassionate community that we live in.

Preferences around end of life care?

Over 90% wish to be told if they were terminally ill, a number that is higher than, I feel, a lot of us suspected. Often, we wish to protect our loved ones from painful information but it may not be what the loved one wants. That is why conversations about these topics are so important.

Preferred place to be at end of life? 

  • Around 55% of respondents would like to be at home
  • 16 % would like to be in a hospice
  • Only 10% would like to be in hospital.
  • 35% would still like to be at home even if they didn’t have the right support.

Priorities of care 

Respondents were asked to rate which they ranked the most important and the 2nd most important. Results show an even split between being pain free, with family/friends and being peaceful and calm.

Communicating our wishes

  • Only 35% of people have discussed what they would like with anyone. 
  • Only 7% have anything written down.
  • 25% of respondents have made a will 
  • 16% registered for organ donation.

How comfortable we are about talking about death?

40% say they are very comfortable.

Most people, 45%, stated they wished to talk to their doctor or GP about what would happen at end of life.

This is a brief synopsis of overall answers. In the comments section there were some really interesting comments relating to people’s experiences and views and we hope to collate them and share them with the community in the future.

We want to hear from you. Has this made you think about your own situation? Do you have any ideas for your end of life? Whether it is a serious discussion or a light-hearted chat about bucket lists and wishes, being open and honest with those you love is so important, including when it comes to talking about dying. Talking about it won’t make it happen but it will make us more prepared, whenever that may be. It is the last thing we can do for those we love and what those we love can do for us so don’t be scared. Start the conversation. 

If you would like any support, please do contact us on info@cancerrelief.gi or give us a call on 20042392.