What matters conversations

There are times in our lives, we might find it helpful to talk about our future wishes, there are many triggers for these types of conversations some examples might be; a death of someone close to you, a move into a care home, a medical diagnosis such as dementia or perhaps you are a person who finds comfort in getting everything in order.

By starting these conversations earlier, we can give ourselves a voice for the future when we may no longer be able to speak for ourselves. Recognising that we have the choice to change our minds at any time. It’s also helpful for those who are caring for you to know what matters to you, your hopes and fears which will shape your future care.

This area of the website planning your future has been designed for anyone who wants to consider the many options which are available when planning our future, it is also designed for health care professionals, who might be considering their own future care planning wishes or looking to enable this personalised care of those in their care. It is important to discuss this with those close to you and share your decisions with healthcare professionals, so your wishes are understood and more likely to be followed.

This short film is based on 50 interviews conducted during the COVID pandemic across the UK in 2020. It highlights the importance of what matters conversations in the delivery of effective patient care from the perspective of professionals, and gives examples from clinical practice of how this approach can be incorporated into busy daily practice.

How to start a conversation

Most of us find it challenging to talk about dying with those who matter most to us.

We might put it in the ‘too difficult to face’ pile and shy away from it. This risks us never quite getting around to it as we try to protect ourselves and loved ones from uncomfortable emotions.

Others say it is a relief to get things out in the open and be able to share ideas about their wishes, hopes and choices. It can bring you closer together. It may take courage and confidence to take that first step and there are many tips about practical ways to start a conversation with those close to you. Helpful tips can be found by clicking on these websites: Compassion in Dying and Marie Curie

This blog advises how to talk about death with someone who has a learning difficulty.

Useful books

These are some books to read on conversations around death and normal dying:

  1. With the end in mind by Kathryn Mannix
  2. Listen by Kathryn Mannix
  3. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Professional Resources and Top Tips

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