END OF LIFE SUPPORT
For you, your partner and your family
At Mummy’s Star, we actively encourage our families to make informed choices around how they wish to approach all aspects of an end-of-life journey.
While it can be difficult to think or have conversations about death and dying, they can provide a much-needed understanding of what is going to happen and reassurance that the right support and care will be in place.
What do we mean by 'End of Life'?
End of life is the term used to describe the last weeks, months or years of a person’s life. For our families, this could mean a secondary diagnosis, an incurable cancer or the failure of treatment leading to an incurable prognosis.
End of life care supports an individual to live as well as possible until they die, and to then die with dignity. It also supports the family and friends who are part of that journey, including bereavement support afterwards.
End of Life Needs
Having open conversations around an incurable prognosis and end of life aren’t easy, but are important for everyone involved. They can ensure everyone receives the support they need and encourages open discussions about other services, options and support that may not have previously been considered.
This can include:
Ensuring the correct pain management is in place.
Making changes to the home to facilitate a safe and comfortable environment as your physical abilities change.
Discussing where you might like to be (home, hospice, etc.) when the time comes.
Organising changes to bills and other legal matters and leaving work.
Arranging for childcare, housekeeping etc. to give you time to rest and enjoy one another.
Talking about your funeral costs and how to meet them.
Claiming the correct financial support.
Financial help is available and can sometimes be accessed at short notice. More information can be found on our
End of life Finances page.
Planning special trips or activities for memory making with your children.
Talking to a friend or professional about how you are feeling; being able to discuss your fear, sadness, anger etc. without shame or worry.
Making memory boxes or writing letters for the future.
Spending quality time with your partner.
Discussing the content of your funeral and any spiritual elements you may want included.
Meeting with a representative from your faith to receive their support.
Exploring new thoughts/feelings around faith and belief that may arise.
Every family and individual’s needs will be unique. It is important to remember that there is no right way to approach end of life. Being honest and open about your needs means those supporting you can do their utmost to meet them and give you the best possible care.
It’s Good To Talk...
This is not a journey to undertake alone and, if you feel able, talking to your partner, friends and family about the reality of your situation will be a great help to you all. If this feels difficult, there are a number of other people and services that can provide a listening ear and compassionate, understanding advice:
A Mummy’s Star’s Information Support Worker.
Your local hospice team.
Your health care provider.
A certified counsellor.
Samaritans (or another anonymous listening service).
A good friend or family member.
Talking to your child(ren) about an end of life prognosis can be the most difficult conversation of all; yet again it is vitally important to offer them the same openness and honesty you would another family member.
We offer detailed support to our Mums on talking to children about Cancer and dying, in collaboration with the Fruitfly Collective. Click here to watch our Ask The Expert session about Children and Talking Cancer.
It can be overwhelming trying to find the most appropriate resources to read or share with your child(ren) and wider family.
There is a lot of information available online for free and there are also lots of books available for different age groups.
For younger children, there is an App called Kids' Guide to Cancer and BUPA have a selection of activity booklets. Useful books include Invisible String (Patrice Karst), Waterbugs and Dragonflies (Doris Stickney), Sad Book (Michael Rosen) and Badger’s Parting Gift (Susan Varley).
For older children, there is TED Ed Animations: How do cancer cells behave differently from healthy ones? A powerful book is A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) WARNING: The mother in the story dies of cancer but the story focuses on guilt, adversity and coping with anger and fear.
For teenagers and young adults, CanTeen has an excellent website tailored for young people affected by parental cancer.
However you choose to approach your end of life journey, Mummy’s Star is there to support you in making informed and individual choices, that will ensure the comfort, care and wellbeing of yourself and your family above all else.