Attitudes to death and dying

As a society we are less exposed to death and dying than previous generations and this has meant that discussing death and dying has become taboo. The Government has made developing public awareness about the issues around death and dying key elements of End of Life Care Strategy, and the Department of Health is working with the National Council for Palliative Care to develop a national coalition to raise the profile of end of life care.   As part of the NHS Next Stage Review PCTs are being encouraged to include strategies for promoting awareness and discussion of issues relating to dying, death and end of life care in comprehensive local strategic plans for end of life care. However, death has risen up the public agenda recently with debates about assisted dying.

What are the implications?

  • Changing relationships between organisations and users and their families.
  • Potential increased public awareness of palliative care.
  • Potential impact on the philosophy of the hospice movement.

Moving forward

  • Does your organisation frequently and openly discuss both public and your organisation's attitudes to death and dying?
  • Do you need to promote awareness and discussion of issues relating to dying, death and end of life care in your community?
  • Do you need to consider how you will repond to potential increases in media attention?

If you need some guidance thinking through how to respond to this driver, have a look at our pages on planning. You need to bear in mind some of the issues here and on our other drivers to feed into your planning. You might also like to have a look at our Future Focus 6 publication which considers the ageing population and other demographic drivers.

And of course you can join for free to get our ebulletin which will help you think through all these elements of facing the future with confidence.


Last updated at 13:21 Mon 09/Aug/10.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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