FACT - one in four patients currently in Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital will be dead within a year.

And while everyone must face the inevitable at some stage, few are comfortable talking about death.

Which is why Musgrove is supporting Dying Matters national awareness week to address the problem of our reticence to discuss the end of life.

The aim is to get us talking openly about dying, death and bereavement and to plan for death.

Failing to have that discussion affects people's ability to die where or how they'd wish.

Talking about it makes it possible you or your loved ones will die as you might have wished and helps those left behind know you had a 'good death'.

Musgrove palliative medicine consultant Dr Charlie Davis said: "It's something everybody finds great difficulty talking about.

"People aren't particularly good at thinking about the future. We put off bad things for tomorrow.

"The difficulty is when tomorrow arrives and we have problems with our health, we need to do a bit of work to ensure we can get some of the things we want."

Being able to talk about end of life ensures people looking after you know what you like - whether it's having your dog visit you in hospital or listening to the radio.

"It's important to know who you are and what we can do for you," added Dr Davis. "That way we're more likely to get it right.

"It's hard, but the benefit is that when you're very poorly, you're able to have some of those messages transferred to you.

"It's about what makes that person tick and what they can achieve in the time left - it could be getting someone into a camper van and out to the coast and we've even had people getting married here.

"The real impetus has to be how good life can be until they die.

"The legacy of how people will be remembered is generally stronger for those who've been able to talk about it."

Consultant cardiologist Dr Tom MacConnell, end of life lead at Musgrove, said it's important to celebrate patients as human beings.

He added: "Medicine is really good at treating disease. We're less good at looking at the whole person and understanding what's important to them.

"Our natural optimism for life means we don't want to talk about death.

"But people suddenly find they're in the last stages of their life and say, 'If I'd have known that, I'd have done things differently'.

"You're the one in control, you've got to set the priorities. We do the medical priorities.

"If I have a discussion with somebody in their 80s about resuscitation, they'll often say, 'I don't want that'.

"There's recognition that they're getting to the latter stage of their life and they're often comfortable with that.

"It's an acknowledgement of how somebody feels and the honesty about that.

"When a person dies, there's sadness, but also joy of knowing that person a little better."