HEALTH bosses are meeting on Wearside this week to discuss the sensitive issue of end-of-life care.
The chief nurse of NHS England, Jane Cummings, will be the main guest at a symposium at the city’s Royal Hospital which will look at how professionals handle the difficult discussions related to end-of-life care.
Health chiefs say that 54 per cent of the population die in hospital, but in Sunderland, where the city’s NHS Foundation Trust has approximately 1,800 deaths a year, that figure is 60 per cent.
Yet there is a growing consensus that most people, particularly those with long-term illnesses, would choose to die at home.
Rob Common, a nurse at City Hospitals Sunderland, has first-hand experience of how nurses and doctors handle these conversations with patients.
“For far too long now, death and dying have been taboo subjects, and, as a society, we are ill prepared for how we will die,” said Rob.
“We plan for most things in our lives, so why should our death be any different?
“Both at the trust, the wider NHS and in the community, we are engaging with people about how we should approach these conversations honestly and sympathetically, at a time when patients and their relatives are probably at their lowest ebb.”
The symposium, which will also feature Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter and Professor Amanda Clarke, takes place at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Wednesday.