Designing a better way to die – teach students at school

Dr Bruce (BJ) Miller is on a mission.  That mission is to change the way we do end-of-life care. Dr Miller is a palliative care physician at Zen Hospice Project who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients.

To get there he suggests we need to take on board the fact that: “Hospitals are no place to live and die, that’s not what they were designed for.”  To explain he says: “There is a distinction between a disease-centred and a patient-centred model of care, and here is where caring can become both creative and less expensive.”

‘Silver tsunami’ of deaths about to hit nation by Damien Murphy (SMH Oct8-9, 2016) reports on a keynote address at a University of Sydney lecture: Dying Re-imagined: designing a better way to die.  Dr Miller has observed that modern societies started to fear death in a way foreign to previous generations. “Society used to be more agrarian and never far away from the cycles of life …. you couldn’t seduce yourself that you were somehow not part of nature … (and so now) the sheer volume of Baby Boomers has reawakened the idea that nature wins.”

Kate White, professor of palliative care nursing, University of Sydney, has proposed that we teach students about death at school. Sex education is a part of the curriculum so why not death education. “Imagine having a unit at high school where students were taught how to support someone at home, or support a family.”  To read the full story, go to: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/silver-tsunami-incoming-australians-facing-death-with-little-support-says-palliative-doctor-20161007-grx9k9.html ; and to watch Bruce Miller talk about What really matters at the end of life, that has had over 4 million views, log onto this TEDtalk at: https://www.ted.com/talks/bj_miller_what_really_matters_at_the_end_of_life?language=en#t-119970 ; Then for good measure: How to prepare for a good deathThe single most important thing you can do is to name your proxy. Read the Q&A here: http://ideas.ted.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-good-death/

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