Time to Talk – Tomorrow Starts Today

10th July 2024

Posted In: FYI

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) is encouraging people to start having conversations about dying and grieving, with the aim of normalising these difficult topics and acknowledging that they are part of the lifecycle. Their Time to Talk, Tomorrow Starts Today campaign aims to help people navigate the conversations surrounding death, advance care planning and grief. IHF understands that it can be difficult for people to discuss these matters, but it is important to do so and is providing resources to open up and facilitate those conversations.

Paula O’Reilly, CEO of Irish Hospice Foundation says:

“The reality is that despite Irish people telling us they want to be able to talk about death and dying more, many of us do not know how to start this conversation.

Perhaps we are afraid we might upset a loved one or it’s a topic that scares us. IHF wants to support and encourage people to start these conversations. It is often easier to do this when a person is well. The result is that the person’s end of life wishes are known – as opposed to families having to figure things out. Knowing how to start the conversation is really important and this campaign gives people the tips and resources to do that.”

Results from a recent IHF report, Time to Reflect, which explored the impact of COVID-19 on the experiences and perceptions of the Irish population in relation to dying, death, and bereavement highlighted that nearly half of participants (47%) had given more thought to their own end-of-life wishes.

The National End of Life Survey by the National Care Experience Programme was the first national survey asking bereaved people about the care provided to their relatives and friends in the last months and days of their life.  A key theme from the survey was families knowing what to expect when a loved one was nearing end of life, demonstrating the importance of communication between healthcare professionals, patients and their families.

For those whose loved one died in a hospital, three quarters of participants (76.3%) stated that a discussion about what to expect when their relative was dying would have been helpful. For families whose loved one died at home, it was 71.5%.

Both these surveys shine a light on the importance of communication, conversations with loved ones, planning in advance, and documenting our end of life wishes.

As Gabrielle Hutcheson, one of several members of the public involved in the Time to Talk campaign says:

“Having lived and travelled abroad for 35 years I recently retired to my native Ireland. End of life plans were only vaguely in the picture until I inadvertently came across information from the Decision Support Service about the Think Ahead Planning Pack. This information got me seriously thinking about what I want for my Final Journey. It is, after all, my Final Journey, and mine alone – and I want, as I best can, to be the Mistress of this Journey.”

The Time to Talk campaign aims to encourage conversations on end of life with loved ones so that wishes are known, that plans can be put in place and carried out.  Loved ones can then take comfort in knowing the person’s end of life wishes and giving them the farewell they would want. The campaign will run for several months and is supported by a communications programme including digital content and events.

For more information on the Time to Talk, Tomorrow Starts Today campaignvisit Irish Hospice Foundation here>>