To plan for your death»
Death may come expectedly, or it could be without warning following an accident or sudden illness. That’s why it is important to Diversitayand to:
- Make a will: Writing a will lets you plan what happens to your money and possessions after you die, as well who cares for any children you may have.
- Record your funeral wishes: Have you ever thought about what you want for your funeral? Would you want to be buried or cremated? Where do you want your funeral to be held? Do you want readings and, if so, which ones and read by whom? It can be helpful for those left behind to know what you want – a gesture of love to them.
- Plan your future care and support: As we go through life, many of us will eventually need caring for. Some of us might also lose capacity to make decisions ourselves. You can talk to your family and healthcare professionals (such as your GP) about the sort of care you would like.
- Register as an organ donor: Other people can benefit from your organs after your death if you register as an organ donor.
- Tell your loved ones your wishes: Before you finalise any of these things, consider talking them through with those close to you. This gives them chance to listen to your thoughts and feelings as well as sharing their views about the future. If you have important documents about your wishes, keep them in a safe place and let your loved ones know where they are.
To plan for the death of another »
You may have been asked to help, or might have been put in charge of the end of life planning for another. That person may be a loved one or a friend. It is a great honour and responsibility to help with, or handle that planning. Preparing in advance will help you to complete this process.
Someone has died, now what should I do? »
You may have no specific responsibilities but simply want to help or contribute in some way, or you may have been named to handle the funeral arrangements and/or estate matters. If someone is nominated in a will to deal with someone’s estate after their death, this is usually called being an executor. If no will was made, this will be the responsibility of the administrator or personal representative of the person who has died.
You will need to carry out the instructions of the person who has died or make any arrangements which they did not make before their death. Being prepared and understanding all the tasks which need to be done can be really helpful at this sad time.
Finding help now for yourself or another person »
You or a family member can ask for help from a local hospice or palliative care service. Your GP, hospital doctor or district nurse can arrange for you or a family member to be referred, or you can refer yourself.
Make sure that you talk to your doctor or any of the staff caring for you if you have worries or concerns or want to discuss the option of a referral. If your needs are urgent, ring NHS 111 and explain that you would like to speak to someone about getting help at home urgently. Many staff and volunteers are available to support patients receiving palliative and end of life care at home.
It is important to discuss your wishes and preferences for care with your district nurse and GP. They may enlist the help of a Marie Curie nurse, care assistants, a community dietician, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, a social worker, a family support worker or a benefits advisor, or can liaise with local hospices to organise care and support at home. These staff will assess your needs and organise care specially tailored to you and your family or carer. The team will make every effort to make sure you remain at home, if that is your wish. If this is not possible, they can explore alternatives such as a care home, a hospice or hospital care.
It can also be helpful to ask your GP to let the out of hours service know you are receiving palliative care, so that they know about your care arrangements. You should also keep all your end of life care planning information together in a folder which, in Surrey and Kent, is known as the yellow folder. Your GP and/or your district nurse will be able to help you to put one of these together.