"For ourselves and for those we love most dearly, if a doctor told us that our chances of survival were slim, would we prefer to be kept alive possibly for just a few days more in a painful and humiliating way, on an incubator, or would we rather die at home, with those we love?"
I have taken the opportunity, whilst in lockdown, to read more. More books, more new stories and more articles that I have put to one side in the hope that I will get to them one day. A news article that I read yesterday, by Robert Peston for ITV news, made me think about the discussions I have with my clients and the need to speak to my family about what I and they want in the way of a positive death. This is not just because I am concerned about what could happen but because I want my family to be sure they know my wishes in the event that I am critically ill.
Even as I write this I am not sure "positive death" is the right phrase. I just want to be able to choose what happens to me and the manner in which it does. When I talk to clients I talk about the need to have a respect and dignity at the end of life, and having a voice when you might not be able to choose for yourself.
These conversations normally take place in discussions around health and welfare lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions and do not resuscitate statements. In today's world these conversations are taking place because of coronavirus. The daily new briefings which show the rate of illness increasing and death tolls getting higher means we have to confront perhaps the hardest question any of us will ever face. In normal times, few of us want to dwell on better or worse ways to die. But these are not normal times.
I know there are many of these conversations taking place in people's heads around the country, at the moment, but they really do need to be spoken out loud. We really do need to get rid of our British stiff upper lip and deal with the difficult conversations. These conversations are not just because of Coronavirus but could one positive effect of the virus be that we now start to really understand the wants and wishes of those close to us.
Should you wish to read the article and use it as a starting point for a discussion I have attached the link below.