Contributing to Dying Matters week, Brunel Social Work together with Hillingdon Palliative Care held a Death Café in May. Staff from both groups hosted tables and facilitated discussions. The event was sponsored by Brunel Partners Academic Centre for Health Services (BPACHS).
The goal of the event was to invite people to share views about death as a means of integrating it into their lives in a safe environment. Forty two people discussed their questions, experiences, or other thoughts about death. Attendees were nurses, occupational therapists, members of the general public, and MA Social Work and post-GCSE students.
Conversations were respectful, inclusive and varied. Some tables discussed death and bereavement in their home cultures. Only two of the participants had experienced a death café previously, but evaluations suggest there was interest in holding more.
One participant commented, It was good to share experiences and feelings about dying. Another reflected, Really important conversation, death is inevitable and sooner we accept this the better it is for us, life becomes more focused and meaningful. The discussions helped open my eyes to the uncertainties of death and how death should be communicated.
Consistent with the vision of the Death Café movement founder, Jon Underwood, our aim in Brunel Social Work is to help individuals to make the most of their everyday lives, living mindfully and purposefully.
Prof. Holly Nelson-Becker
+44 (0)1895 267935 Holly.Nelson-Becker@brunel.ac.uk