Dying Matters: a conversation on palliative and end-of-life care

During Dying Matters Week, we're encouraging Bristolians to start talking.


During Dying Matters Week, we're encouraging Bristolians to start talking.

This year’s theme focuses on the conversations we have around death and dying.

Registered Manager Claire Nolan notes, “Talking about dying at home shouldn’t be taboo. Our training breaks barriers, instilling confidence so our colleagues can have professional conversations about compassionate end-of-life care. Empowering those we care for in their most vulnerable moment is an honour. Ensuring their wishes around palliative and end-of-life care are observed to the letter is the most special service we provide.”

She continues, “In over a decade of service, we have provided end-of-life care to many Bristolians. One customer, who I’ll call Beth to protect her anonymity, had received 24-hour complex end-of-life care from our Bluebirds for many months. She lived with multiple comorbidities and complex mental health. When Beth decided to stop her feeds, she took the decision to die on her own terms. With support from our senior team as well as the District Nurses and Community Matron, our Bluebirds accepted this decision and supported her wishes, independence and autonomy.”

“During a team reflection session held in office after Beth passed, the Community Matron said she’d been incredibly impressed by the professional and outstanding care she’d witnessed being provided by the whole team. Despite the complexities and challenges they faced, Beth’s Bluebirds remained professional, compassionate and supportive throughout. The reflection session helped us process her loss and deepened our understanding of palliative and end-of-life support. During the session, we shared a written message from Beth’s sister that was sent to me following her passing. It said:

‘I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Bluebirds who were in her care team during the last eight months of her life. She absolutely relied on the enduring support of her care team to help her practically but to also provide her with the emotional comfort and support that she needed. She was not the easiest of individuals to look after. Completely stubborn, independent and, at times, acerbic, but the balance was struck between Beth and her carers to combine help whilst maintaining the spirit of independence that was so essential to Beth.’

‘It was a great reassurance knowing that Beth had carers she trusted when I was unable to be with her. They also supported me and my daughter during her final weeks. I know Beth appreciated the humour, sensitivity and camaraderie of her carers; the trust they shared was a testament to this. The efforts of your team will not be forgotten.’

Clarie notes, “Let’s talk about dying and your choices around end-of-life care. Death is our final journey. Supporting your choices, independence and dignity during that journey is what our Bluebirds are here to do.”

Let’s talk about dying. Click here to watch the video from Hospice UK.