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Event makes dying, death and bereavement process easier to talk about

Dying Matters event

Talking about death, dying and bereavement at a dedicated event proved the perfect opportunity to break down barriers and speak openly about a subject that affects us all.

The annual Dying Matters Awareness Week event hosted by three Swansea Bay University Health Board services gave the public an opportunity to discuss these stages of life while raising awareness of all the different services and people who can be involved following a death.

This year’s theme was the language used around the three stages of death.

Run by the health board’s End of Life Parasol Service, Care After Death Service and Ty Olwen Trust, the event proved its biggest and most popular yet.

Having been held on health board sites in previous years, the event continues to grow and took place in Swansea Waterfront Museum to allow more services to set up stalls.

Around 25 services and local companies were in attendance ranging from the Specialist Palliative Care Team, Maternity Services, Swansea Bay Baby Loss Support Group, Maggies, Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Services to Organ Donation, local funeral directors, pregnancy and baby loss support group, local area coordinators, third sectors bereavement support providers and local charities, all professionals of whom work with and support families and patients at End of life or After death. 

Kimberley Hampton-Evans, Care After Death Service Manager, helped set up the event. She said: “After the success of last year’s event in Morriston Hospital, we knew we had to host a bigger event this year to give more people an opportunity to attend and benefit from it.

“It’s vital that we talk about subjects like dying, death and bereavement as we want to break the stigma, challenge preconceptions and normalise public openness around death, dying and bereavement.

“This event proved that we are certainly making big progress. It was really well attended, everyone we spoke to was confident enough to have these conversations and, ultimately, gain a lot of information and knowledge of the services on offer that can be so helpful during a stressful and emotional time in their life.”

Ty Olwen volunteers 

Philippa Bolton, End of Life Parasol Clinical Nurse Specialist, added: “What this event did was break down the barriers about talking about death, and help people understand more about the various things associated with it.

“The use of certain language is so important in that, and that’s why it was chosen as this year’s theme.

“Having someone close to you passing away can be very emotional and distressing, but this event discussed the fears and anxiety around that. By having a range of different services in attendance, it also helped answer any questions on what happens after death and things associated with that – such as the funeral, for example.

“The overall feeling we took away from this event was that everyone who attended – patients, the general public and our staff – took a lot from it and are more prepared, which was the aim.”

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