USW expert joins Wales tour that will focus on the subject of death

Maria Parry Palliative Care

Maria Parry


A University of South Wales (USW) nurse is joining a national tour that will encourage people to have an honest discussion about death.

Maria Parry, an Academic Manager in the School of Care Sciences, is one of the specialists who will be manning The Departure Lounge when it tours Wales.

Maria spent a few days in London last year on a research project, also called The Departure Lounge, arranged by The Academy of Medical Science & Ipsos Mori. During that time she was interviewed for both UK and international media.

“We were in Lewisham shopping centre in a shop front asking shoppers to pop in and talk about death, dying or anything related,” Maria said.

“The aim was to increase the conversation around the difficult topic.”

Following the event, Maria used literature and props supplied by The Academy of Medical Science to put together a portable Departure Lounge, which will now be touring Wales in an effort to get people talking about death. She is hoping to take The Departure Lounge to Hay Festival next year.

The first event is being held at Barclays Bank in Llandrindod Wells between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Friday, November 29, thanks to a partnership between Barclays Bank, Powys Teaching Health Board, Swansea Bay University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and USW.

Maria, who is a specialist in palliative care, said: “Death can all too often be a taboo subject for many people, but it’s something that happens to us all. There can often be questions that people feel too afraid to ask, or too uncomfortable to face.

“We are hoping The Departure Lounge will give people the confidence to ask what can be very difficult and personal questions, and supply some of the answers they need so that they can understand more about what will happen to them and their loves ones.”

Sarah Wheeler, Macmillan Lead Nurse End of Life Care Planning at Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to bring this initiative to Powys later this month, and would like to thank Barclays Bank who have kindly agreed to host the team.

“Advance Care Planning is for everyone. It is a voluntary way to help you think about, prepare and plan for your future care and the end of your life. It can be a great support to your loved ones to know what you would want, if you ever can’t speak for yourself.”

The event in Llandrindod Wells will also feature My Life My Wishes, which is an Advance Care Planning document developed by and for the people of Powys.

More information about the Departure Lounge is available at www.departure-lounge.org, while  more information the My Life My Wishes website is available from www.powysthb.wales.nhs.uk/mylifemywishes

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