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Highland Hospice promotes conversation around death and grief as part of Demystifying Death Week, run by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, an initiative of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

By Alasdair Fraser

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Susan Speke, the Hospice’s Last Aid Development Officer,
Susan Speke, the Hospice’s Last Aid Development Officer,

Highland Hospice is encouraging people to talk openly about death and grief as part of a national campaign.

The specialist palliative care charity is backing the Demystifying Death Week, run by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, an initiative of the charity Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

The dedicated week takes place between May 6 and 12, during which time the Hospice will be posting videos on its social media with a variety of individuals explaining their own personal experiences around death and dying.

Susan Speke, the hospice’s Last Aid development officer, said: “We very much encourage

the idea of ‘demystifying death’ on a daily basis – not just during this week but every day of the year.

“I run our Last Aid course, educating people on how to deal with, plan for, and talk about death as a natural part of life rather than as a state requiring clinical intervention.

“Last Aid is a simple course delivered either face-to-face or on the Zoom platform. It is interactive, and gives practical tips on how you can provide comfort to someone who is dying, and what you can do to plan for your own and your family’s future.”

The course is divided into four topics – Dying as a Normal Part of Life, Planning Ahead, Relieving Suffering, and Final Goodbyes.

Ms Speke added: “These are subjects many shy away from, but they are so important to discuss and plan for.

“Our course feedback has been extremely positive, and the ethos of last aid is embraced by the Hospice, where all departments are actively encouraging these conversations to take place.”

Louise Mainland, Highland Hospice’s bereavement services manager, added: “We are proud to be supporting Demystifying Death Week. This is something we encourage at all times.

“We have a variety of people lined up to tell their story about the importance of discussing death, which we think will be of interest to many.

“We are not just trying to open up these discussions but also persuading people to think about the vocabulary they use. Many of us are avoidant of the subject and word ‘death’, and we want to promote the fact that it’s not just okay to talk about it, it’s essential.”

Those seeking further information on Last Aid courses should visit www.highlandhospice.org/lastaid

Resources on death and dying can be found at www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk while those wishing to speak to someone can contact bereavement@highlandhospice.org.uk

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