THE only certainty in life is death but it is still a taboo subject.

So when St Helena Hospice embarked on a public awareness campaign to promote their My Care Choices Register, it needed a sensitive, yet prominent approach.

Enter the elephant in the room.

The My Care Choices Register is a place to record end of life care choices, specifically for those people living with an incurable illness, dementia or frailty.

Planning for death is often overlooked or perhaps, more truthfully, it is avoided.

The hospice, which serves north Essex, wanted to bring the conversation into the open and it was a chat with a practice manager at a GP surgery which provided the inspiration.

Sally Thompson, campaign manager for the hospice, said: “Whilst I was talking to one of the practice managers about how they introduce the register to their palliative patients she described how difficult it can be because it is the elephant in the room.

“Most people don’t want to discuss it.

“However, she went on to say how useful the register is at introducing the subject. Hence this conversation formed the basis of the campaign.”

With the help of designer HollockWaine, the elephant came to life and has appeared in many places including on the back of buses and on stationery.

The hospice has announced the release of an animation in which the elephant comes to life.

The Elephant in the Room was produced by Summer Isle Films in Suffolk.

It starts in a room with a couple who look sad.

The woman is in bed, the elephant appears and only she can see him.

While her husband is out of the room, the elephant passes the woman a copy of the register which she reads and starts to complete.

When her husband returns, she chats to him about her situation.

Sally said: “I wanted the animation to be sophisticated but uncomplicated.

“Using basic line drawings and spot colour, the message needed to be clear but gentle, acknowledging the tricky subject matter but highlighting how much lighter things can feel once the conversation has been broached.”

The video is available to watch on the St Helena Hospice YouTube channel.