good life, good death, good grief

What the experts say

“Combating perceptions of death, and cultural taboos, is crucial to improving palliative care.”

–Economist Intelligence Unit, 2010

“A recent poll of GPs by the King’s Fund found that family doctors were often reluctant to consider their own end-of-life needs. These GPs also recognised that such reluctance could affect how they related to patients and how they dealt with death, dying and end-of-life care.”

–Kings Fund, 2010

“Research findings suggest that some clinicians may refrain from initiating these sorts of conversations with their patients because they are simply ‘difficult conversations to have’.”

–Kings Fund, 2010

“This review has shown that there is a consensus among the public, across different cultures, on factors contributing to good end of life care. However, most people have not talked about these issues either to family or professionals.”

–Dying Matters commissioned literature review (2010, unpublished)

“This book argues that the predominant conception of death and loss as an exclusive responsibility for clinical and professional governance has inhibited the way we can respond compassionately and socially to meet the many differing needs and anxieties of the dying and their loved ones.”

–Governing Death and Loss, Steve Conway (2011)

“Death is not an easy thing to discuss but quality care depends on us being able to talk about it. Straightforward, sensitive and open communication between health and social care workers, the individuals they support - and their families and friends - underpins all good services and makes it more likely that people’s wishes and needs will be met.”

–NHS End of Life Care Programme, 2011

“The taboo about discussing death and dying means that too many people can reach this critical point of their life unprepared, without having thought about how or where they would like to be cared for. This in turn affects their family and carers as a poor death can lead to a traumatic bereavement, with associated mental and physical health issues.”

–Healthy People, Health Lives: Our strategy for public health in England, 2010

“27% of nurses who had used the care pathway admitted in the anonymous survey that they did not feel competent to discuss end of life care issues with patients. That proportion rose to 33% among all respondents... The lack of confidence directly affects the quality of care for the dying as nearly half of respondents - 48% - said nurses at their organisation were unable to provide relatives with sufficient support and explanation when a patient entered the dying phase.”

–Nursing Times survey of readers, 2010

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Before I die I want to ...