Older Calderdale people encouraged to write ‘advance statement’ setting out their wishes

Paul Butcher, Calderdale's Director of Public Health
Paul Butcher, Calderdale's Director of Public Health

Older people in Calderdale will be encouraged to write or record an “advance statement” ahead of their death, to help ease their passing for loved ones.

Calderdale’s Director of Public Health Paul Butcher said he had introduced the item into his annual public health report for Calderdale, which looks at healthy ageing, to start a debate on the issue.

Some precedent has been set in one Calderdale area, with the annual Pushing Up Daisies festival in Todmorden being a community-grown festival inspiring conversations around death and dying, aiming to remove any taboo.

Mr Butcher wants all adults to be encouraged to have an “advance statement”, although he accepts that preparing one won’t be for everybody.

The personal statement could set out people’s preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding their end of life care.

These should be promoted by all health professionals who should routinely ask for an individual’s “advance statement” and centre that care around it when the time comes.

“Evidence points to how important that can be in terms of people left behind, that they are not left in a position of upset and trauma.

“Having been able to talk to your loved ones, whilst uncomfortable, pays off in the longer term.

“It should be talked about, considering it, though not every adult has to do it. We want to start the debate,” he said.