Sheffield medical staff get involved in Dying Matters Awareness Week

“We are not immortal” was a talk held yesterday evening to inform Sheffield residents of the support that is available as they approach death.

Sheffield is one of only two NHS services in the country with intensive home nursing for those nearing the end of their life. Cheryl Wade, a key member of the intensive home nursing programme, said: “We will be there for you in the last days or weeks of your life no matter what. We’ll be there as much or as little as you want.” There are around 80 part time staff on 20 hour contacts but many people aren’t aware of the service.

The event was part of Dying Matters Awareness Week and took place at the Medical Education Centre at the Northern General HospitalIt was attended by more than 30 people ranging from ages 20 to 85. It featured speakers from across the hospital discussing and giving information about the process of death. The medical staff performed a role play to show what happens after someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, stopping each step of the way for a talk by a relevant professional.

Dr Jenny Barnes told the audience how there is a cancer support centre available to give financial support, legal advice and help with telling children and family the devastating news.

Clare Jones, 1 of 17 specialist nurses in Yorkshire, discussed the importance of organ donors. Throughout England last year there were 1,413 organ donors, up from 1,364 the year before. This meant 3,712 patients were able to receive a transplant. There were 19 organ donors at Sheffield Teaching Hospital last year, however, there were over 3000 deaths.

Neil Strawbridge, a trauma nurse co-ordinator, said: “We deal with a very diverse range of people and conditions. We are a post industrial society so there are many people with chronic lung illnesses. We always make sure we give good, honest opinions and information.”

Peter Moores, 79, said: “My father had motor-neurone disease and whenever anyone asked him how he was doing he replied ‘dying cheerfully’, that’s the attitude I want to have.”

Throughout the week death cafés have been taking place at Theatre Delicatessen in The Moor.

Dying Matters Awareness Week continues until May 14th. Find out more at

Written by Chris Gannon

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