The Council wants to work with residents and community groups, as well as organisations and professionals with an interest in end of life care; such as doctors, health care professionals, funeral directors, lawyers and spiritual and religious groups.
The aim is to develop and improve care and support for those at the end of their life and to encourage people to think and talk about how they would like to approach the decisions that face them at the end of their lives.
At least three quarters of deaths in the UK are expected rather than sudden, meaning that it is possible for people and their loved ones to plan. This can include thinking about what care options and treatments are available, what support people and their loved ones want, how to put financial and legal affairs in order and addressing people’s cultural, spiritual and faith needs.
Dr Barbara Barrie, a leading expert in end of life care, made a presentation at the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board including a video to help stimulate debate, which includes a moving interview with the daughter of an elderly woman who experienced a good end of life plan and a good death.
At the meeting Cllr Rachel Eden was appointed End of Life Care Champion for Reading and it was agreed to set up a local steering group to ensure consistent, high-quality, co-ordinated care is available in Reading.
Rachel Eden, Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, said:
“Many people across Reading are telling me how important it is to improve end of life care and the experience of people so that they can die in a dignified way that is as they would wish. The end of our story is an important part of our story and we have one chance to get it right.
“I have been very moved by the experiences and stories that people have been sharing with me over the last month or so and I believe that by bringing together people we can ensure that both the right services and support are available and that people feel able to plan and share their preferences at an early stage.”
Do get in touch if you would like to get involved.