Thank you, Rosemary, for sharing the Caring at End of Life Research project with us. It was good to hear about the positive experiences of the community that cared and shared the caring of the dying.
By the number of people who attended and the questions that it raised, it is evident this is a topic that not only needs to be talked about more but raises so many other questions.
I think we all learned something about death and dying that we hadn’t heard previously.
One of the keys to having a positive experience in caring and dying seemed to be having an engaged community ranging from the personal carers to the service providers such as the doctors, pharmacists, etc.
Some of the questions and comment that were raised:
· How do you link into services available? There are many palliative care services out there, but how do you find them.
· What does death look like? Many people have not experienced seeing a person die first-hand; therefore, it holds a fear of the unknown.
· Even when the dying person has made their wish for no more treatment known to family, there is still the fear of guilt of not calling an ambulance and how those further from the immediate family will perceive the lack of action.
· Even though a person is dying and has a ‘do not resuscitate’ in their advanced care directive’, there are still medical procedures that can improve the quality of the life they have left.
· Ambulances have their own medical obligations and a DNA will not be sufficient to allow them to not resuscitate.
· It is okay for people to die at home and you can care for them at home for several deaths after death. However, a GP does need to be called to record the death.
· A death doula is a person can assist the dying and families in having a ‘good death’.
We were very fortunate to not only have Rosemary leading the discussion but to also have knowledgeable women in related fields – social work, nursing, the ambulance paramedic, etc.
Rosemary also advised the Kerrie Noonan runs a program called Groundswell. I had a quick look the website this morning and it has lots of interesting information.
I would love to run a follow-up session to cover some of the other topics that were raised. If you have experience in a related field and would be willing to share this information with the group, we could have another session with say three ½ hour topics for discussion. Likewise, if you would like specific information to be covered, please let me know and I’ll see if I can match up skills with topics.
Thank you, Rosemary, for giving us the opportunity to begin the conversation about death and dying.