Public Awareness initiative gets people of Louth talking about their end-of-life wishes

The Forum on End of Life has thanked the people of county Louth for being involved in a three-month pilot phase of the Think Ahead initiative which was rolled out in September and ended on November 30.

The Forum on End of Life has thanked the people of county Louth for being involved in a three-month pilot phase of the Think Ahead initiative which was rolled out in September and ended on November 30.

Developed by the Forum on End of Life in Ireland – an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation - the Think Ahead project involves people thinking about and recording their preferences in the event of an emergency, serious illness or death.

A Think Ahead form has been developed for people to use in capturing this important information and is available free to all members of the public from www.thinkahead.ie

During the pilot the people of Louth were asked to think about their preferences for end of life, talk to their families and then fill in the Think Ahead Form.

Louth was one of two sites where the pilot was run, and initial results from those sites are:

90% reported Think Ahead has made them more likely to discuss their end-of-life wishes with a close family member or friend.

Those surveyed felt the most effective areas of the Think Ahead form are those that encourage people to record information that would be crucial in emergency situations and the section that allows them to write down details of their wishes around their funeral and burial.

91% believe the Think Ahead Form would be of interest to Irish people in general.

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, said,

“The strength of the pilot comes down to capturing the wisdom that is out there among the public. We are very thankful to the people of Louth for engaging in the three-month pilot phase and feeding back their experiences of Think Ahead to us.

This process will be very helpful in developing future plans for Think Ahead.”

The Think Ahead initiative was supported by a number of influential bodies such as the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), Citizen Information Centres, Age Friendly Initiative, and many libraries.

During the pilot phase the Think Ahead forms were available for free from these organisations.

The Think Ahead initiative was developed following a year-long national public consultation between 2009 and 2010 to explore issues of concern around death, dying and bereavement in Ireland.

The concept of Think Ahead was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in October 2011.