Today marks the launch of Dying Matters Awareness Week, an annual event that prompts communities across the UK to engage in meaningful conversations about death, dying, and end-of-life care. 

This year's theme is the way we talk about Dying Matters, highlighting the language we use and the importance of open, honest dialogue between healthcare professionals, patients, carers, and families.

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Why the way we talk about Dying Matters

Patricia is living with an incurable illness. Mumtaz’s husband Rasheeque died in 2021. And Lucy is a Palliative Medicine Consultant at North London Hospice. 

Together, they add their powerful experiences to the 2024 Dying Matters Awareness Week animation – exploring how language and communication can play such an important part during the end of someone’s life.

Click or tap the image to play.

Watch on Youtube

By Melanie Taylor, Head of Information Support

Our polling


Our recent polling has shed light on the importance of language when talking about death and dying. 45% of people would rather health professionals speak in a direct, non-euphemistic way when delivering a terminal diagnosis. This shows the need for clear, transparent communication, making sure that patients and their families fully understand their situation and the care options available to them.

However, 33% of people said they prefer euphemistic language when talking about death and dying. People have personal preferences, and it's important to work with the language that makes people the most comfortable, so they are free to focus clearly on what's being said.

Breaking down barriers to conversation


Despite the crucial role that conversations about death and dying play in providing good end-of-life care, many barriers exist. These can range from a lack of confidence among healthcare professionals to societal taboos surrounding death.

This Dying Matters Awareness Week, we're aiming to break down these barriers. We're sharing insights into public perceptions of healthcare professionals' language and its impact on end-of-life experiences. We're also amplifying the voices of those who are dying and the families of those who have died.

Expert advice from hospice professionals


Our incredible team of experts from over 200 hospices around the UK are at the forefront of death, dying, and end-of-life care. They have first-hand experience in navigating these challenging conversations and providing support to patients and families during one of the most challenging times of their lives.

We've asked these experts to share their tips and advice on how to initiate honest, transparent conversations about death and dying. Whether you're a healthcare professional, a patient, or a family member, their insights can help you feel informed and empowered to discuss these important topics.

Coming together to talk


This Dying Matters Awareness Week, we're encouraging communities around the UK to come together and talk openly about end-of-life conversations. Whether it's with healthcare professionals, family, friends, or colleagues, every conversation counts.  

To facilitate these important discussions, there are a variety of events happening across the UK as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week. From virtual webinars and workshops to community gatherings and panel discussions, there's something for everyone to participate in and learn from.

You can find a full list of events and activities on our Dying Matters Awareness Week events page. These events offer opportunities to talk with experts, share experiences, and get expert information on how to approach end-of-life conversations.

Join the conversation


We’re inviting you to join us this week in raising awareness and promoting an open dialogue about death and dying. Share your stories, ask questions, and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can break down barriers, challenge taboos, and create a culture where honest conversations about death are welcomed and valued.

Together, let's make every conversation about dying matter.