Why do you think we need to talk about this more?
We’re hearing a lot of worry and misinformation about death and dying in the national dialogue at the moment. For many people, death has become unfamiliar and frightening. We often only hear the bad stories that make us worry, and what’s more, when it happens to others, their experiences are unfamiliar to us and we don’t know what to say.
We know death to be a natural part of life, and it’s usually a lot more gentle and peaceful than people expect.
Perhaps if we talked about it a bit more, if we got more familiar with what happens and what care is available, we’d worry less and we’ll feel more prepared for when someone we love is dying or grieving. Everyone has a role in death and we need to feel better equipped to support each other.
What sort of conversations do you think we need to have?
Anything is helpful – talking about it won’t make it happen any sooner.
We suggest people talk about what a ‘good death’ means to them, what sort of care they’d like and who would be with them; discuss what’s worrying you; discuss other people’s deaths you’ve witnessed and what was positive and worrying about that; discuss how to care for each other in times of grief; just get better at talking about it so you won’t have to learn during times of grief.
We’ve provided a list of conversation starters, and there are also plenty of resources online.
Is this about euthanasia?
It is, in part, a response to the current conversation about euthanasia especially because the debate about the End of Life Choice Bill has prompted a lot of this worry. The palliative care sector generally doesn’t support the End of Life Choice Bill (although there are a diversity of views like any sector) – but this is not a focus of the project. Instead, we want to take the opportunity of the national debate for a more positive purpose: to encourage communities to get more familiar with death.
What does the project entail?
Hospices across the country will be sharing video stories and other conversation starters through social and mainstream media in the hope they’ll offer a different way of thinking about death and dying and encourage people to talk about it.