Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For health information and advice, read our pages on coronavirus. Learn about the government response to coronavirus on GOV.UK.
Covid-19
Contrast
Sign Up

Healthier Futures - End of life care

We need to talk about dying

Passing away, passing on, falling asleep, departing this world… we use lots of different words to try to avoid talking about death and dying.  It’s something that will happen to us all one day, but we are often reluctant to face the facts, so we use other words and phrases to avoid saying the word ‘dying’.

Death often isn’t an easy subject to talk about, but we’ve put together a short film which can help us all to start having discussions with the people we love.

AnnaLock“There are lots of things we might want to talk about when it comes to the end of our lives,” says Dr Anna Lock, a consultant in palliative care medicine working in the Black Country and West Birmingham.  “Many people will have made a will so that their financial wishes are recorded and their families aren’t presented with money worries at the worst time, but other things can be even more important than that.  Would we prefer to die at home or in hospital?  What sort of funeral would we like?  If we don’t talk about dying, our loved ones won’t know what we want.”

For many people, the decision to talk about what we want in the event of our death comes as a result of a life change.  Getting married or civilly partnered, moving house, having children, the death of a loved one, or a serious health concern … these are common triggers for conversations about death and dying.

But it’s not all about planning: there are other conversations we need to have, too.  “I’ve been to funerals where someone’s spoken very generously about the person who’s died,” says John Homer, a community advocate for people with long-term and life-limiting conditions.  “But I often wonder whether the people who are there had told their loved one how much they meant to them.  It makes their passing a bit easier, because they know that memories of them will live on.”

You can listen to more of what Anna and John have to say about preparing for death and dying.

Dying Matters the professional and the personal

Dying Matters Week

Dying Matters Week takes place every year.  In 2021, the week’s focus is on the importance of being in a good place to die.

Our local event, entitled “We need to talk about dying”, is an opportunity for public services workers, the community and voluntary sector, and the general public gather to discuss how we can all be more open about the end of life.  It takes place on Thursday 13 May; click here to view the programme and book.

After the event, highlights of the sessions will be available on this page.

Resources to help you and your family

We have compiled some resources to help you and your family talk about death and dying.  We’ve split them into sections, to help you find the right help at the right time.

No Barriers Here
No Barriers Here is a unique and innovative approach to advance care planning for people with learning disabilities and a collaboration between The Mary Stevens Hospice, Dudley Voices for Choice, and Art Psychotherapist, Jed Jerwood.

No Barriers Here was co-produced by people with learning disabilities and explored the use of art-making to create and support conversations about death and dying, discovering what matters most to people at the end of life. Gently guided through four distinctive workshops, participants shared their narratives using arts-based methods such as collage, textiles and weaving to shape creative, distinctive, and truly personalised advance care plans. We hope that this film can be used to challenge any misconceptions around talking about death and dying with people with learning disabilities and support the idea that using arts approaches in palliative care can shape rich conversations within our communities and challenge inequalities underserved populations experience.

For more information about No Barriers Here or to express an interest in attending Train the Trainer workshops, please contact Gemma Allen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Follow the project on Twitter @NoBarriersHere

 

Dealing with death 

 

Local palliative and end of life support services:

 

Talking with someone else about dying

 

Once someone has died

 

Local authority bereavement services:

Dudley 01384 813970

Sandwell 0121 569 6700

Walsall 01922 650000

Wolverhampton 01902 554865 / 07976 708790

 

Compassionate communities 

 

For professionals

In The News

  • Accelerating recovery of diagnostic services with £8million investment

    Following a successful bid, we are pleased to confirm that local NHS trusts are taking part in a national programme to help the NHS further accelerate diagnostic activity and recover services from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. Our colleagues across NHS services are working hard to recover services affected by the pandemic, now the vaccine programme has helped to significantly reduce the number of Covid patients needing care. Throughout the pandemic the NHS has con...
  • Walsall people encouraged to take part in ground-breaking blood test cancer trial

    Thousands of letters are being sent to adults in Walsall this week, inviting them to take part in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new cancer-detecting blood test. The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, including thousands in the West Midlands, to see how well the test works in the NHS. Walsall is the first location in the We...
  • Recruitment begins for the Black Country Integrated Care Board Chief Executive Officer

    NHS England is advertising for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the future Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB). Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations, local government and the voluntary sector. These partnerships aim to meet health and care needs, to coordinate services and to plan in a way that improves population health and reduces inequalities between different groups. From April 2022 (subject to legislation) ICSs will become statutory...
  • Local NHS team shortlisted for award

    A team from the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (BCWB ICS) have been named as finalists at this year’s HSJ Awards. The community inclusion team at Healthier Futures, the Black Country and West Birmingham’s Integrated Care System, has been shortlisted for the NHS Race Equality Award, recognising their outstanding contribution in identifying and tackling ethnic health inequalities for local people. The area was hit hard by the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020, with...
  • Calling all A-level students

    As students receive their A-level results today, local NHS leaders across the area are calling on young people to consider a career in the NHS. With over 350 different roles available, the NHS is one of the top 10 employers in the world, employing more than 1.3million people. Degrees in nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects are all varied, exciting and challenging in equal measure. Once qualified, you could work directly with patients, in hospitals, an ambulance trust, or in the commu...
  • Health and Care Partnership Launches New Resource to Encourage Apprenticeships

    A new online platform has launched to highlight the wide range of apprenticeships available across health and care in the Black Country and West Birmingham https://www.healthierfutures.co.uk/apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are an opportunity to earn, learn and make a difference to the NHS with qualifications ranging from GSCE and equivalents up to master’s degrees, through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning. Recognising that it hasn't been easy to find different apprenticesh...
  • Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) Training

    Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) TrainingNews Clinicians are invited to undertake Roadmap Supervision (RMSV) Training to support colleagues to be recognised as a First Contact Practitioner with the Centre of Advancing Practice. There are two routes on the roadmap to be recognised as an FCP with the Centre of Advancing Practice: Portfolio route: requires submission of a portfolio of evidence signed off by an approved roadmap supervisor (RMSV); clinician criteria to be eligible for this training is...
  • Now hiring! Social care roles across the Black Country and West Birmingham

    A unique online recruitment event is being held next week for people interested in a career in social care within the Black Country and West Birmingham (BCWB). Social care is about supporting people to maintain their independence, dignity and control. Social care workers could work in a care home, in the local community, or provide personal support in someone’s home. Around 34,000 people are employed in social care across BCWB, and the event on Wednesday 28 April will explore the opportunities...
  • Half of Black Country & West Birmingham adults receive COVID-19 vaccine

    The NHS is celebrating an important milestone this week as more than half of all adults in the Black Country & West Birmingham have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. More than 540,000 first doses have now been administered, thanks to the unprecedented scale vaccination programme which has seen people receive their vaccine in hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, pharmacies and even local sports centres and places of worship. Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS Blac...
  • Black Country Health Chiefs say there’s a COVID-19 vaccine with your name on for everyone aged 50 and over

    Anyone aged 50 and over can get their first dose of the Covid-19 jab by registering on the door at certain local Vaccination Centres now.  Those who are eligible can arrive at on the following Vaccination Centres without an appointment from today until (and including) April 2nd :  Saddlers Centre, Walsall.  Tipton Sports Academy, Sandwell  WV Active Aldersley , Wolverhampton  Or, for the Sadlers Centre and Tipton Sports Academy, they can book by calling 119 or o...