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You only die once

Most people find it hard to talk about death - but during Dying Matters Awareness Week we're being challenged to speak openly about dying, death and bereavement.

We only get once chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it's vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life – before it's too late. During Dying Matters Awareness Week, we're encouraging everyone to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are: 

  • Write your will
  • Record your funeral wishes
  • Plan your future care and support
  • Consider registering as an organ donor
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes

Research has found that many people have specific wishes about their end of life care or what they would like to happen to them after their death, but a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that these wishes will be met. There is a major mismatch between people's preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death: 70% of people would prefer to die at home but more than half currently die in hospital.

Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list. There is a serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant is increasing. By registering as an organ donor, you can help to save lives even after you're gone.

Sixty per cent of adults haven't made a will. Making a will ensures that your money and possessions go to the people you want them to after you die. If you don't have a will, your loved ones may have to deal with lots of extra complications after you die.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Lambeth GP and Chair of the local CCG said: "Every minute someone in England dies, but many people still feel uncomfortable talking about end of life issues. Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone's interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, where we want it, at the end of our lives.

"Through being more confident in talking about dying and taking the five steps we are promoting during Dying Matters Awareness Week to plan for the future, we can make a big difference."