Jewish Care encourages ‘honest and compassionate’ conversations about end-of-life wishes

The message comes ahead of Dying Matters Awareness Week


Jewish Care is encouraging people to have honest and compassionate conversations about their end-of-life wishes (Photo: Jewish Care)

Jewish Care is encouraging people who are approaching the end of their life to have honest and compassionate conversations with loved ones about what is important to them and how they wish to be cared for.

These conversations are important to ensure that relatives, friends and carers know what directives and preferences a person has at the end of their life if they are no longer able to express them, according to Jewish Care’s social work and community support team.

The message is being conveyed ahead of national Dying Matters Awareness Week, which takes place between May 13 and May 19.

Paula Plaskow, Jewish Care’s end of life and palliative care lead, said: “We want to ensure that individuals have the best holistic support at the end of life, and this comes from having compassionate conversations, so each person can talk about what matters most to them and make advanced care plans to enable us, as care providers and as family and friends, to honour their preferences and choices.”

Plaskow added that their partnerships with hospices across London and the southeast were vital in this effort, and that a good end of life experience also helped relatives grieve well afterwards, “in the knowledge that the person they loved was cared for and their wishes were honoured”.

North London Hospice works with Jewish Care, supporting people in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. It also provides an advice line for those living in north central London.

Wolfie Smith, director of patient services at the hospice, said: “North London Hospice is proud to work with Jewish Care and all our partners in the Jewish community and aims to provide the best of life at the end of life, for everyone. What this means is often a very personal thing for the individual however. We recognise that it is more than just our physical needs when we are living with a life-limiting condition.”

North London Hospice’s specialist palliative care teams support people at home, in care homes or in their hospice inpatient unit. Dr Sam Edward, medical director and a consultant in palliative medicine at the hospice, said: “We ask not: ‘What is the matter?’ but: ‘What matters to you?’ It is in this spirit that we provide support for our patients, tailored to their own religious or spiritual needs across our community.”

Jewish Care is encouraging people to have an advanced care plan. This is a document that can be accessed online via the Jewish Care website and which outlines ways in which future care, treatment choices and preferences can be discussed with chosen trusted people. Questions include where someone would like to be cared for, whom they would like with them and if there is any music they would like played or prayers recited at the end of their life.

You can also find out more about how to have conversations surrounding end of life by visiting

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