Marie Curie Cancer Care has praised the makers of the popular BBC television programme Call the Midwife for sensitively tackling the subject of end of life care.
In a series that normally focuses on the beginning of life, a storyline concerning Miranda Hart’s character, Chummy, and her mother explored issues around the importance of closure and the healing of damaged relationships when someone is dying.
In the series three finale, broadcast on Sunday 9 March, nurse Jenny Lee decided to leave Nonnatus House to become a Marie Curie Nurse, having been inspired by caring for Chummy’s mother Lady Browne.
Writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas wrote the episode for Neal Street Productions, which makes the programme for the BBC.
She said: “The end of life is as important as its beginning, which is why we decided to tackle this supremely emotional topic in Call the Midwife.
“I first witnessed the miraculous power of a good death when someone very close to me passed away in a Marie Curie hospice. Bereavement will always hurt, but letting a loved one go with tenderness and care can be immensely healing for all involved,” she said.
“I am so glad we went on this journey with Chummy and her family, and deeply grateful to organisations such as Marie Curie, who do so much to support and guide people through this defining chapter of their lives,” she added.
Former midwife and Marie Curie nurse Ann Brady said: “Like Nurse Jenny Lee, my career has moved right from the start to the finish of life’s journey.
“Life and death happen to us all. On the one hand there is the excitement of preparing for a baby being born and joining a family and on the other, preparing for the time when someone is going to leave a family.”
The Call the Midwife series conclusion comes as Marie Curie published a report on the experiences of terminally ill people, their families, carers and bereaved carers.
The report – Difficult Conversations with Dying People and their Families – also draws attention to the issues surrounding round-the-clock care and the practical and emotional challenges that terminally ill people and their families face getting the support they need.