How Do End of Life Decisions Happen?

An open day exploring the end of life with brain injury, dementia, or frailty

13th October 2015, 10am – 5pm
Hamilton House, Bristol, BS1 3QY

FREE, All welcome, drop in any time

GW4 Public Engagement Evaluation 13.10.15

Download the programme for the day:
Events-arts Timetable overview FINAL

Dying may or may not be something we want to think about, but how much can we plan for what happens to us at the end? How effective are these plans when it really matters?

Have you thought about;

  • Talking to your family or your GP about your wishes?
  • Writing your wishes down?
  • Making an advance directive?
  • Arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Will families and doctors carry out your wishes? Do those with the power of attorney do what we ask?   It can be difficult to imagine what it’s like to be terminally ill or to have dementia or a stroke, making it hard to decide how we would like to be cared for.  Our wishes may change – from day to day, when circumstances change or depending on the person we are talking to.

Recent improvements in end-of-life care have come from better cancer care. But two thirds of us will die of something else –in frail old age, often with some dementia, or perhaps after a stroke or accident that impairs our ability to communicate. Frail older people may struggle to be taken seriously even if they can communicate, while some people with dementia may say one thing today and other tomorrow.

What can we do to increase the chances that our dying is as good as it could be?

You may be concerned about your own future care. Perhaps you are caring, or have cared, for someone at the end of their life. You may be a health or social care worker, or a lawyer. Maybe you’re just interested or curious.

Researchers from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter are exploring how decisions happen at the end of life.  We would like you to share your experiences with us so that our research asks the right questions. Researchers will be available to talk to all day.

Please join us for:

  • An exhibition featuring work from artists, patients, families and carers
  • Local and national charity information stands
  • The Listening Tree – an opportunity for you to share personal experiences or thoughts
  • Puppet theatre performances, ‘Where are you now’, a show exploring disorders of consciousness from the carer perspective (12 noon and 3pm)
  • Creative workshop (2.30pm) and discussion groups to get you exploring the issues
  • Introductory talks about advance directives (10.30am and 2pm)
  • A reading by author Cathy Rentzenbrink from her book: ‘The Last Act of Love.Book a seat or come along on the day
  • 1:1 surgeries on how to write an advance directive (sign up in advance,  or just come along on the day) Appointments last 30 minutes. Email to make an appointment or for further information

Download the programme for the day: Events-arts Timetable overview FINAL

If you haven’t thought about these issues before, we hope you’ll come away informed. If you work in health or social care, we hope you’ll share your experiences and gain insight. We will learn from your experiences and provide a safe space for reflection, but only as far as you feel comfortable.

Everyone is welcome.

If you would like further information, please contact

Further information about workshops and sessions:

Advance Decisions talks and 1:1 sessions. 

An Advance Decision allows you to make choices about your medical treatment in advance of a time when you don’t have the capacity to do so (e.g. when you are unconscious, in a coma, or have dementia).  In our talks, we will explain how Advance Decisions work and how you can make one.  After the talks, we will offer individual one-to-one sessions to help you write an Advance Decision that is right for you.  Further help will also be available through our new charity, ADA (Advance Decisions Assistance).

Talks will be held at 10.30am and again at 2pm in the Community Arts Space, all welcome, just come along.

To make an appointment for a 1:1 session, just email 

If you would like to speak to someone about Advance Decisions before the day, please contact ADA.

Telephone:  01757 289453

The Listening Tree

The Listening Tree offers a safe and well supported opportunity for sharing compassionate conversations and intimate storytelling on ageing, dying, caring and loss. You are invited to input to The Listening Tree, whether it be a thought, a question, a memory or photograph… whatever you want to share.

The Listening Tree will be based in the Conference Space throughout the day


Art workshop – led by Stephen McGrath

Explore your emotions related to illness , dying and death through tactile pictures making full use of appropriate gesture and colours

Drop in any time between 2.30pm – 4pm

You can view Stephen’s work ‘The Art of the Brain’, in the Think Tank throughout the day

Puppet Theatre

Where Are You Now? A meditation on severe brain injury, commissioned by the Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre performed by Karin Andrews-Jashapara, Play of Light Theatre

12.30pm and 3pm.  Performances last 20 minutes followed by a discussion.