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End of life planning

End of life planning can help us prepare for the future. By spending a little time now, we can relieve the decision-making burden on the people we love and create the opportunity for a peaceful end of life.

Simple steps to take now 

1. Consider legal and financial matters:

  • Make a will, get legal advice if necessary.
  • Think about the costs; consider insurance, a funeral plan.
  • Plan for the care of dependents.

2. Save other lives - through organ donation:

  • If you want to donate any organs to save other lives or leave your brain or body to medical research, e.g. to help with dementia, write it down and tell your family.

3. Make a plan for what you want when you die:

  • The type of care you would like towards the end of your life.
  • Where you would like to die.
  • Whether you have any particular worries you would like to discuss about being ill and dying.
  • Whether you want to be resuscitated or not.

4. Plan your funeral arrangements:

  • What do you want, burial, cremation, green funeral, other?
  • Any service, memorial service, wake, celebration of your life.
  • What songs, messages, themes?

5. Tell your loved ones your wishes:

  • Talk to your loved ones and let them know your wishes.
  • What would you like people to know before you die?
  • Think about creating messages, memory boxes, videos for loved ones.

It is important to think about all the things you want well in advance, talk to your loved ones, write it down and keep it safe.

Useful links

  • Dying Matters - raising awareness of dying, death and bereavement.
  • NHS Choices: planning ahead for the end of life - information and advice to help you make plans for your future care.
  • Welfare Rights Specialist Teams - our specialist teams exist to help and advise certain groups of people who need extra support.
  • At Macmillan Cancer Support's information and support centres you'll find a team of experts and trained volunteers on hand to answer your questions and offer listening ear and information on everything from local support groups to help for the financial problems cancer may create.
  • County Durham & Darlington Cancer Patients and Carers Group - a group of patients and carers who have been affected by cancer and use their experiences to influence cancer services.
  • Pension Wise - a free and impartial government service about your defined contribution pension options.
  • Marie Curie offers an information and support page at Marie Curie: support sharing advice on areas such as if you are recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, are living with a terminal illness, are caring for someone, when someone dies, guidance around benefits and finance, bereavement tips for employers, dealing with bereavement and grief at work and others support guidance.  

Hospice care

  • Butterwick Hospice - caring for as many people as possible of all ages who are living with a progressive life limiting illness. Services are provided free of charge to those diagnosed and to their loved ones.
  • St Oswald’s Hospice - providing specialist palliative care to adults, children and young people from the North East of England.
  • St Cuthbert's Hospice - providing specialist palliative and end of life care to all those in Durham affected by life-limiting illnesses, at a time and a place that is right for them.
  • Willow Burn Hospice - is an oasis, right in the heart of the countryside; a small, hospice and community hub. They welcome people whose illnesses are no longer curable, who choose to come to Willow Burn, enabling them to achieve the best quality of life though the provision of personalised care based on their needs and wishes. Willow Burn are proud to serve the people of Derwentside through their range of holistic day care, in-patient services and family support and bereavement counselling services.

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