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Exploring issues around death and dying

Large candle with black ribbon, surrounded by tealights

An online workshop, focusing on death and dying and the role of community groups in providing support, has taken place.

Organised by the Northern Integrated Care Partnerships and NHSCT Compassionate Communities Group, the workshop, “In this together – a community approach – Talking about death and dying and supporting those around us”  –  brought together statutory, community and voluntary groups to examine issues around palliative and end of life care, as well as bereavement during the current pandemic.

Introducing the event was Una O’Farrell, Northern ICP Pharmacy lead and co-chair of the Northern Palliative Care Programme Board.

The two hour session was chaired by Jenny Dougan, Community Navigator, Mid and East Antrim. The speakers included the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Dr Jayne McAuley, palliative medicine consultant, who discussed palliative care and end of life care and Amanda Mellon, Macmillan specialist social worker , who talked about planning ahead for death and dying.

The Trust’s bereavement co-ordinator, Gwyneth Woods, and Eleanor Ellerslie from CRUSE  Bereavement Care discussed bereavement during Covid.

There was also a personal story from Jill Shiels, who spoke of her experiences of  bereavement both before and during the pandemic.

Northern ICP manager, Anne-Marie O’Boyle, said: “The death of someone we love is likely to be one of the most distressing experiences we will ever face. Talking about end of life and palliative care can be scary, but planning ahead can make a huge difference.

“Discussions around death and dying can be difficult at any time, but we felt it was a particularly important conversation to highlight these issues now, in light of the COVID 19 restrictions on wakes and funerals.”