Louise Southwell from our Penzance branch is working with local charities to support terminally ill people and their families as they prepare for their final days together.
Louise, partner at Coodes and head of the Elderly Client Team, wants to encourage conversation amongst families where a member is facing death and to access pre-bereavement support.
She is working with charities such as Macmillan Cancer Care and Cruse Bereavement to bring together agencies working with people with life-limiting and terminal illness.
“Pre-bereavement is a relatively new idea because it involves talking about something we’d rather avoid – death,” said Louise.
“However, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be a great comfort to be able to make arrangements and decisions about the end of your life, and for after you’ve died.
As part of her work, Louise has provided training for nurses at Macmillan Cancer Care on the legal aspects of pre-bereavement.
Considerations include making a Will, setting up Power of Attorney so a trusted family member or friend can take care of financial and legal affairs, and allowing someone to advocate for medical decisions.
Coodes has also launched a printed guide to pre-bereavement, available through their offices in Cornwall and Devon and available to download here: Coodes When I’m gone
“We are trying to make people aware that if you have a diagnosis, there are things you can do to maintain some autonomy of decision making, and chose who you would like to support you.
“Ultimately we want people to start having that difficult conversation with the important people in their life.”
Bernadette Pawley, Cornwall area co-ordinator for Cruse Bereavement Care, said: “Pre-bereavement is a very new concept but it can be beneficial for people to start considering the impact of what happens when someone dies.
“It’s important that people have the opportunity to talk about these issues with their loved ones.”
To access pre-bereavement or bereavement support, contact Coodes 01726 874700, coodes.co.uk, or Cruse Bereavement Care: 01726 76100, www.crusecornwall.org.uk.