Love and loss
Challenges around death and dying have been known for many years, but the end of life care sector has failed to act at the pace and scale necessary. Repeated research shows us that there are more people dying, dying older and of more complex conditions, overwhelming families and services. At the same time, diminishing family capacity, limited resources within the system, workforce crisis and system fragmentation make our responses progressively less effective. These have been facts for many years, but society and the system has been largely unable to adapt.
Beyond this, while medicalisation, professional specialisation and sequestration of death, dying and loss have added a veneer of control, they have served to disable our personal, social and spiritual resources. We believe that the gains they provide in symptom control and reassurance can be delivered in less damaging ways.
Yet the approaches to change that we standardly use won’t deliver the transformation we need: conferences, academic papers, lectures, pilots, randomised controlled trials and ad hoc experiments are ill suited to fresh ideas, mass mobilisation and change at scale. And we know that crude policy drivers around place of death and advanced care directives don’t get to the heart of the problem.
We want to see a world where people die in a way that makes sense of their lives - with love, connection, meaning and in comfort. A world where experiences of love and loss are cherished as two sides of the same coin of a life lived fully. A world where these experiences become fuel for new connections that heal our communities and our society.
To work towards this world, we need to explore:
Societal shift in attitudes to death and dying
Different and increased role of non-professionals at end of life
New roles for ‘end of life’ professionals and institutions
Radically improved reach of ‘end of life care’
New kinds of organisations as partners and deliverers