Published: 27 October, 2015 | Service: The Home Team

Death is not usually a topic of conversation around the dinner table or preferably at the bedside of an ailing relative, however sadly on occasion this has to happen. Regardless of whether death is seen as just something else to arrange in the grand scheme of life or whether you would prefer not to face it until it knocks on your door, the inevitable truth is no one escapes it!

To plan or not to plan

As we know that death usually occurs without immediate prior warning should we make our arrangements early or should we leave this to someone else? I guess the question is, “would we be happy with someone else’s choices”? I asked my mother about this when she was alive; her reply was “well I won’t care, as I’ll be dead! However when I said in that case then I’ll order a purple satin robe and obtain a recording of brown girl in the ring, she very sensibly opted to plan her own funeral,  a plan was obtained swiftly.

Here at the Home Team, part of our task when assessing, maybe will have to do with end of life or continuing health care funding, for patients with a palliative condition. The discharge liaison nurses in the home team will support with making arrangements for your discharge from hospital. They will be able to talk through some options with you and your family and refer on to specialist teams who may need to be involved in your care. The social discharge co-ordinators may also be able to support with offering information about help groups and services available in the community, for both the patient and their families. Although the diagnosis may be yours, you will not be expected to face this alone, help is always on hand.

The home Team have information available on community services and options you may wish to consider if you are making your own arrangements. You may wish to consider power of attorney, and chose a person to speak for you when or if in the future, you may not be able to speak for yourself. A nominated power of attorney can express your wishes and choices when health professionals need decisions making or if you wish to speak to utility companies for example about closing accounts, unless this is enacted, you may find that due to data protection, you may not be able to conduct tasks on behalf of that person as you are not legally recognised as a representative of that person. The Home Team can support you with obtaining information about the Mental Capacity Act and Best Interest meetings and how they are conducted, for example people that have been assessed as lacking capacity to make informed decisions, where a power of attorney is not in place.

Ask about the “Tell us once” service from the council. There is a handy booklet produced by the council which provides information on the processes of death arrangements and notifying various departmental and utility companies. It may be a good idea to contact a solicitor and ensure your will is up to date as money and estate does not automatically be passed on to the wife or family. An ‘administrator’ is the person who deals with the estate if there’s no will. You can usually apply for a grant of representation to be the administrator of the estate if you’re the person’s next of kin, e.g. their spouse (or civil partner) or child.

You can apply if you’d separated from the person but you were still married or in a civil partnership when they died. Be aware…The law decides who inherits the estate if there’s no will.

If you purchase a funeral today, it will remain at today’s prices unless the crematorium or church raise their prices, other than that, funeral arrangements are more cost effective if planned early!

For those of us who wish to make our own arrangements, you can have a lot of fun with it as the choices are now endless. What about being the finale to the wake by having your cremated ashes added to a 25 shot repeater firework. Or have your ashes made into some beautiful jewellery for your family to keep?

If you wish to be Eco friendly and put your body to some good use what about donating your organs or having an Eco burial in a sacred wood? Your local wood is just past Nettleton, you are buried in a biodegradable coffin, in a field that is being developed to promote a wildlife sanctuary. Whilst you are not allowed a headstone you can plant a tree or bush or wild flowers and have a bee box or bird box placed near the plot.

In death as you were in life

If you are the type of person that is very particular about how you look or what you wear in life, then why should this not be carried forward into death? Whilst most of us can’t afford the richness of King Tut’s funeral we can still make our own choices of what we wear, how we are taken to the church or crematorium and what our casket will look like. For example, when a relative died he was cremated in a pair of homer Simpson pyjamas, carried to the crematorium in a glass coffin pulled by a Harley Davison. They had a life ceremony which celebrated his life with poems by the Monty python clan! Purely all his own choices! He also designed his own coffin; it has pictures of him in his jeep all over it! 

Dying is not something thought of as a prospect for the future very often, but if you are able to confront the inevitable, then death maybe something not to be feared, after all, its life’s natural selection of renewal and rebirth. Why should we fear death? It may not be the closing curtain but the opening of a door? Who knows?





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