South Tyneside team aim to break down death taboo

Death and dying is set to be thrust into the spotlight as part of an awareness raising week in South Tyneside.

Saturday, 12th May 2018, 9:00 am
Consultant in Palliative Care Dr Anna Porteous, centre, End of Life Care Facilitator Sharon Rooney, second from left, and specialist palliative care nurses Tina Mitchell, Bev Ferguson and Dawn Townsley with some of the decorated pebbles

The specialist palliative care team at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust will be out and about in the borough in a bid to break down the taboo subject.

The events taking place at South Tyneside District Hospital on Tuesday and the Viking Centre in Jarrow on Wedmesday are part of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Stones created as part of Dying Matters Week

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It is being supported by local charities and organisations including St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow.

The theme for the week is ‘What can you do……in your community?

Dr Anna Porteous, consultant in palliative care with the Trust, said: “Dying Matters Awareness Week presents a great opportunity to break down the barriers and taboos which exist around death and dying.

“Having conversations about what is important to us can help to ensure that people get the care and support they want at end of life and that they are able to make the most of the time they have left.

“It can also help the bereaved if they feel they are able to carry out their loved ones’ wishes.”

During the events, people will be able to access information and advice on everything from future care arrangements to funeral planning as well as organ donation.

They will also encourage members of the public to get involved by writing down their bucket list entries and decorating pebbles with words and motifs summing up their thoughts related to topics such as What makes you tick?, What gives you strength? and Who do you turn to for support?

Wendy McGauley, head of fundraising and communications at St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow, said: “St Clare’s is the local independent hospice for the South Tyneside community. We provide a range of services including an inpatient unit, day care, holistic therapies and spiritual support to people and their families affected by life limiting conditions.

“We are delighted to be working with colleagues from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust to help local people to talk about death, dying and bereavement.”

Dying Matters is a coalition of 32,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

For more information regarding Dying Matters visit