The way we talk about dying matters

03 May 2024

Eighteen individual photos of ambulance staff holding a toy elephant to illustrate how they are confronting the elephant in the room and opening up conversations about death and dying

To mark Dying Matters Week (6-12 May 2024), Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) is focusing on the importance of conversations between healthcare professionals and their patients, relatives and carers about death and dying.

Honest, timely discussions about death and dying are vital and can transform the end of someone’s life and give family and friends clarity over what to expect.

As an ambulance service, we hold a unique position where these conversations have the potential to be started - even if patients just begin to think about what matters most to them when the time comes.

The YAS Palliative and End of Life Care (PEoLC) Team has been promoting discussions by addressing ‘the elephant in the room’ with staff which has led to some interesting yet meaningful conversations about where their preferred place of care would be at the end of their life. Watch this video to find out more.

The Trust has two Palliative and End of Life Care (PEoLC) Leads – Claire Marsh and Claire Craft – who work with a team of YAS PEoLC Champions and partners to enhance the knowledge, competencies and confidence of our clinicians attending patients nearing the end of their life.

Claire Marsh said: “Our patients are central to what we do, and as ambulance clinicians we hold a unique position of managing both life and death. Every day when it’s appropriate to do so, we have opportunities to start conversations around what would matter most to a patient at the end of their life - this could be the difference between what is perceived as a good or bad death, and we can all play a vital part in this.”

A host of events are being held to mark the week throughout YAS; the intention is to support our staff to enable an increasing number of patients to have their wishes explored and followed at an extremely imperative part of life.


Produced by: Corporate Communications Department