Introduction: Societal attitudes to death and dying


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Mike Richards1 and Teresa Tate2
1National Cancer Director (England), UK, and 2Marie Curie Cancer Care, UK

Abstract

Talking about death and dying has become a taboo in the UK over the past century.  This can have adverse effects for people who are approaching the end of life.  They may feel isolated because friends and family do not know how to talk to them.  Their preferences and priorities for care may be unmet, simply because they have not been discussed. In addition lack of discussion of issues related to end of life care may mean that it is not given the priority it deserves by health and social care services.

This symposium brings together leading experts in societal attitudes to death and dying.  The speakers will focus on what can be done to change knowledge, attitudes and behaviours based on experience in the UK and other countries.  The action being taken to establish a national coalition on public attitudes to End of Life Care as part of the End of Life Care Strategy in England will be described.