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My Last Orders cafes to show that dying matters

IMG_1152[P]eople from across Morecambe Bay talk openly about dying, death and bereavement at new pop up cafes known as #MyLastOrders.

The cafes are led by Ian Dewar, the Chaplain at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Ed Northey, Chaplain at the Furness General Hospital, volunteers and members of the palliative care team from University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. They aim to encourage conversations which can prevent a crisis at the end of life and also help to spread the word about the importance of talking about death.

Ian Dewar said: “Death and dying is dealt with too functionally and I feel we need to provide the space for people to sit and talk in a civil and reflective way about big issues. The #MyLastOrders cafes encourage these important conversations where they are most needed- within the community.”

People of all ages are welcome to attend the cafes and join in important and sometimes life changing discussions. To spark initial conversations the cafes utilise a material called ‘Grave Talk’ which is a set of cards with questions such as, ‘Would you wear bright colours to a funeral?’

Although the aim of #MyLastOrders cafes is to facilitate informal conversations between members of the public, professionals – for example bereavement nurses – are on hand to answer any questions.

More recently, #MyLastOrders cafes have taken place specifically for junior doctors and nursing staff.

Ian added: “We put on the cafes for junior doctors because medical training sometimes leaves little space to have these open conversations which are faced on a daily basis. The power of the concept is that there is no right or wrong answer, we want them to come up with their own philosophies.”

The #MyLastOrders cafes were initially launched as part of ‘Dying Matters’ awareness week which is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

To find out when and where the next #MyLastOrders cafes are taking place please contact [email protected]

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