New website launched to tackle taboos about death

Categories: Education.

The “be ready for it” website has been created by the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy and gives practical advice about planning either your own death or the death of another. 

It encourages people to plan for their future – whatever their age – by talking to their friends, family or carers about their wishes at the end of their lives. 

By discussing the options at an early stage, the aim is to help people make the right choices about their care, place of death and funeral. 

As well as providing simple checklists, the site brings together a host of information to help when somebody has died, such as guidance about legal requirements and how to register a death. 

‘One of the biggest taboos’

Maggie Parsons, project lead for the academy, said: “Many people find it hard to talk about death and dying, and it remains one of the biggest taboos in our society. 

“But dying well is a natural part of a good life – which is where this new website comes in. We want to encourage people to talk openly about dying and plan ahead so that they can make the right choices about end of life care, where they want to die and their plans for their funeral. 

“This website will help to encourage people to start those conversations. After all, simply talking about death won’t bring it closer – but sharing our wishes well in advance will make it easier for our loved ones when we do reach the end of our lives.” 

Visitors to the site will also be able to share their own stories, create a bucket list of things they wish to do before they die and access support from a range of charities. 

Taking control

Speaking to ehospice Maggie said: “Death and dying needs to be put into the context of life planning. It’s something people should be thinking about when they have a baby, get married or retire. If people don’t make their wishes clear, it’s hard for family members or carers to make decisions about how they should look after you if you are no longer able to tell them.” 

“We are trying to empower patients and carers to do pre-planning and take control,” Maggie continued. “To be able to say, ‘this is what I want!” 

The website is currently funded by several sponsorship organisations; Norfolk County Council, the East of England Strategic Clinical Network for Cancer and Health Education England. 

‘Be ready for it’ is working closely with Dying Matters, the well-established national organisation aiming to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement.

According to Maggie, there has already been interest from health services across the country who are considering adopting a similar website model. 

For more information about the website or the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy, email or follow the website launch on Twitter @be_ready_for_it 

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