|Age:||I'm over thirty|
|I prefer to drink:||Liqueur|
Please be aware - this information is for healthcare professionals. We also have information for the public. You can use our My Learning form to reflect on how this has helped with your continuing professional development. It can bring up uncomfortable emotions for you and for the person who is dying, but there are things you can do to make the conversation easier and more meaningful.
Is anyone else this isolated?
Why is it important to talk about dying? Starting the conversation. Listening well. Film: What matters to me? Giving information. Telling someone that they're going to die. What other support is available? Taking care of yourself. Useful resources.
Key points. Talking about death or dying can bring up many uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, so wanting to avoid it is a common reaction. But talking about death with someone who has a terminal illness can be very helpful for them at any stage in their illness.
It can help them to:. Some people, and cultures, prefer not to talk about it. You can still let people know that you are ready to talk to them if they want to in the future. It can be difficult to know how to start the conversation. It might be helpful to ask the person questions such as:.
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The person might open up to you and start the conversation themselves. They might ask direct questions or they might start talking about death in a less obvious way. Be aware of more subtle cues that they might want to talk to you about dying. It may be something they mention once or repeatedly. For example, they might say things such as:. We communicate through our body language and tone of voice as well as the words we use.
Listening well also involves making sure that you understand how the person is feeling. There are techniques you can use to help, including:.
Asking the question, "what matters to me", can help patients plan for the future and make decisions about the care they would like. Watch this video to find out about the difference that having conversations about the future can make, and how these conversations can help improve care for your patients. There's also information about how to start these conversations. But, whatever your only looking for someone to talk to, there will be times when you have to give information or explain something to a patient.
Allow them to ask questions. You can try and find the answers to their questions and let them know later. Other professionals, such as doctors or specialist nurses, may be able to help. It might be helpful to give them written information such as booklets or websites. Marie Curie has online information for people living with a terminal illness and carers on a wide range of topics as well as booklets that you can download or order printed copies. You can also tell the person who they can contact when you're not there.
If they have general questions or need emotional support, they can contact the Marie Curie Support Line. We have more information on telling someone that they're going to die. The best person to speak to the person and their loved ones about this is a healthcare professional who is confident and experienced and has a good rapport with the person. Denial is a normal reaction and can be an important part of them coming to terms with their illness.
Often, they will accept it in their own time. They might benefit from speaking to a counsellor or psychologist. They only looking for someone to talk to also wish to speak to a chaplain, spiritual advisor or faith leader to discuss spiritual issues. A social worker can help with practical issues such as finances as well as providing emotional support. Talking about dying can be challenging for you as well.
It may trigger memories of people you have lost or care about in your personal life. This is normal but if your feelings are interfering with your work or personal life, it is a good idea to get some support.
Talking to your manager or other colleagues about your experiences can be helpful. If you feel you need extra support, you could consider seeing a counsellor or psychologist. Talking about dying is a skill that can be learned and improved. Reflect on your conversations and think about what went well and what you could do better next time.
Ask your manager if there are any communication skills courses you could attend. Royal College of Nursing guidance: When someone asks for your assistance to die. your feedback to knowledgezone mariecurie. This information is not intended to replace any training, national or local guidelines, or advice from other health or social care professionals.
The Palliative Care Knowledge Zone is not intended for use by people living with a terminal illness or their family and friends, who should access our information for the public. Published date: 5 February Review date: 1 February Talking to someone about dying Please be aware - this information is for healthcare professionals.
On this :. Starting the conversation Listening well Only looking for someone to talk to What matters to me? Telling someone that they're going to die What other support is available? Taking care of yourself Useful resources Key points. Starting the conversation It can be difficult to know how to start the conversation. It might be helpful to ask the person questions such as: If you were to become more unwell, what would be important to you?
Have you thought about what you would want to happen at your funeral?
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If you were to become more unwell, who would you want to be around you? For example, they might say things such as: Do you think there is a god? What happens when we die?
How will my partner cope? I wish I could see my friend one last time. Remove any barriers between you. Use open postures, for example rest your hands on your thighs rather than crossing your arms. Give them your full attention. You can be warm and smile but remember that you are discussing serious things. Film: What matters to me Asking the question, "what matters to me", can help patients plan for the future and make decisions about the care they would like. Give small amounts of information at a time.
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Avoid using jargon. Avoid explaining things in detail — unless the person asks to know more. Taking care of yourself Talking about dying can be challenging for you as well. Download My Learning form. Talking about dying can be difficult but there are things you can do to help the conversation be more meaningful for your patient. You can try and find out and tell them later or ask a colleague for help. Talking about dying can be challenging for you.
Find out where to get support if you need it. Let us know what you think your feedback to knowledgezone mariecurie. Disclaimer This information is not intended to replace any training, national or local guidelines, or advice from other health or social care professionals. Related content. Providing emotional care.
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Providing spiritual care. Communication difficulties. Telling someone that they're dying.