Initiative asks people to record dying wishes

Cynthia Clampett.

Cynthia Clampett.

A new campaign has been launched to encourage more people to record their wishes for one of life’s few absolute certainties - death.

Cynthia Clampett, CEO of Mayo Roscommon Hospice, is encouraging people to get involved in the Think Ahead initiative by the Irish Hospice Foundation.

The campaign encourages people to plan for the end of life by recording their wishes for what should happen in the event of an emergency, serious illness, or death.

The new Think Ahead plan allows people to record and review their wishes in areas such as end of life care, legal and financial matters, organ donation, and funeral arrangements.

Ms Clampett acknowledged that for many, death and dying is a “very delicate issue”. However she said it is only common sense that people should think about their wishes for the end of their lives and tell their family and loved ones.

“There is a huge need to open the conversation around this,” she explained. “It may sound very morbid but it’s not really. It is just a way for us to speak for ourselves and make decisions now, rather than someone else having to make those decisions for us.

“Now is the time, when we are in the full of our health, to have these kinds of conversations.”

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, said everyone has the right to have a say in his/her care, including at the end of life.

“Open and honest discussion about death and dying can ensure that someone's wishes for end of life are known and respected. It can also support those they love through bereavement,” she said.

Speaking at the official launch of Think Ahead, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the initiative as “empowering”.

“It puts the person who is ill at the centre of operations, making sure their end of life care is as close to their wish as possible. For our part, in government, we are committed to providing a framework where people’s wishes around end of life care can be met.”

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