Pass it on before you pass away

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Cornwall’s collaborative project aimed at encouraging everyone to prepare for dying

A group of charities and organisations in Cornwall have come together to launch a new project as part of Dying Matters Week (14th to 20th May). The aim is to ask people to consider what they want in death while they’re very much alive.  It’ll encourage people to opt in for organ donation and to complete an Advance Decision, which explains what the person would want if they couldn’t speak for themselves.

The project brings together Cornish charity Cornwall Hospice Care, the NHS Organ Donation Team from the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, Healthwatch Cornwall and Compassion in Dying. The details have been developed with members of the Lostwithiel Young Farmers Club who have named the campaign ‘Pass it on before you pass away’ and who understand the need for young people in particular to consider taking important actions like signing up for organ donation.

Brian Tierney is NHS Specialist Nurse Organ Donation and is supporting the project; “I’m delighted to be part of this collaboration as the more people who join our organ donation register the better. 46% of the population in Cornwall have signed up but we need to keep spreading the word and helping people to understand the difference they can make. At present 500 folk a year who are on the transplant waiting list, die and we want to lower this figure.”

Deb Thomas is Cornwall Hospice Care’s Education Lead; “By completing the Advance Decision you are clearly stating what you want to happen if you are injured or ill and can’t make decisions for yourself.  It’s not a Will but a recognition of your wishes should something happen to you. We’re delighted to be working with Compassion in Dying who have provided us with paper copies of the Advance Decision and the link (right) to complete it online.”

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People signing up as organ donors and completing the Advance Decision will be given a special card for their wallets and key rings that’s been compiled in association with Healthwatch Cornwall who are also backing the campaign. The card was inspired by a similar one designed by St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth.

Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cornwall Amanda Stratford said; “On the 17th of May we will be hosting our end of life care event, My Life – My Death, for professionals working in this care sector in Cornwall. It will enable us to share information with them about the cards, and how they can encourage people to have one.  We are incredibly pleased to join together with Cornwall Hospice Care in launching this Advance Decision card and hope the campaign will help ensure people’s wishes are more easily known if something happens to them.”

The new campaign will run for a year with the results of the project being revealed in next year’s Dying Matters Week.

Dr Deborah Stevens, Medical Director for Cornwall Hospice Care says; “we would love to hear from any groups or organisations that would like to know more about the campaign and how they can help.  We will come along and brief you, provide all the materials you need and support you as you help pass the information on. The more people who take part the bigger the difference we can make to everyone’s lives.”

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“Only 4% of adults in the UK have got what is known as an ‘Advance Decision’ and yet 80% have strong views about how they want to be treated.``

Get involved

If you would like a card please e-mail communications@cornwallhospice.co.uk

If you would like a speaker to come and talk to your group/club/staff about this campaign all you need to do is call 01726 839156 and ask for Tamsin Thomas or email us at communications@cornwallhospice.co.uk