Why is it Hard to Talk About Dying?

Last week the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) released a new report that explores the reasons why doctors and other healthcare professionals find it hard to talk to their patients about dying.

The report called “Talking about dying: How to begin honest conversations about what lies ahead” is downloadable RIGHT HERE

The RCP report is based on conversations with doctors at all levels, patients and carers, and medical organisations and reveals the barriers that stand in the way. It offers some solutions and resources to help, including a ‘mythbusting section’ debunking common but erroneous beliefs that we have about these kinds of conversations

Four English hospitals leading the way in supporting end-of-life care (EOLC) have contributed good practice case studies to the report.

One of the major issues identified within this report and the one that much of the UK media is reporting most frequently is the need for healthcare professionals to begin conversations about planning for end-of-life care nearer the time that patients are given a terminal diagnosis. They point out as would I, that there are multiple opportunities in a patient’s healthcare journey to start honest conversations even earlier than this, when discussing future goals and treatments whether that’s at outpatient appointments, hospital admissions, in social care settings or best of all out in the community.

And why are these conversations so important?

Because the sooner we have these early conversations the sooner we are allowing those we care for opportunities for choice and control over the remainder of their lives. Like many others I would call for anyone with a known life limiting illness to consider creating an Anticipatory Care Plan to manage their health and well-being at the earliest opportunity. Why is explained quite nicely in the video.

Scotland’s Anticipatory Care Planning Toolkit is accessible HERE

For more about this topic its also worth taking a look at the Death Cafe site

Maybe this will inspire you to host your own community Death Cafe!


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