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Whose death is it anyway?

7th May 2015

David Knight, Chaplain

A thought for Dying Matters week (May 17th – 23rd)

There are many people with very strong views on what makes for a good death. Much of it boils down to being a description of what they themselves would hope for. Perhaps a good death involves being surrounded by friends and family, or, alternatively, to have lots of peace and quiet; maybe it’s to be given all the information about what is happening to you, or perhaps you’d prefer not to know much; maybe it’s planning your funeral in advance or, maybe you can’t imagine anything worse!

There are some things that nearly everyone shares, like being kept pain free. Although even that isn’t universal, with some believing that pain serves an important (often religious) function and, within reason, should be accepted. Perhaps the only certain thing is that you are the one and only world expert on what would be a good death for you. We should all be able to all die as we have lived: uniquely and in character.

Here’s another certainty: you are much more likely to get the death you want if you give it some thought and then, share your thoughts with someone else.

Dying Matters Week is a short time devoted to encouraging all of us to think about what we would want when our lives draw to a close. It’s not weird or depressing to do this: it’s sensible. It may even be life-enhancing to spend time recognising that all of us will die, including you and I. Perhaps by considering our limited time, we will learn to focus more on really important things like being ourselves, being happy and, worrying less.

David Knight, Chaplain

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: It is with great sadness that due to stringent infection control measures, we are required to restrict visiting and cannot offer the comprehensive level of service in the way we usually do. However, we will still do our utmost to make sure that each patient and loved one is given the compassion and dignity they deserve. To help families stay in touch we are encouraging virtual visiting using technology such as video calls and apps. This will be discussed and explained to patients and families on admission and we can help provide access to equipment in the hospice. In addition, the IPU nursing team will liaise with each patient and family to arrange short daily visits from the patient's closest loved one and compassionate visiting, as appropriate. Read the full details here.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.