Exploring death and dying in UK: A call for volunteers

Experts from the University of Nottingham will explore death and dying as part of a new research project, and are looking for members of the public to share their experiences and perspectives of this (often-considered) ‘taboo’ topic.

The project, which is being led by the Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care (NCARE), is looking to recruit volunteers from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire to take part in a series of discussion groups and interviews.

The outcome of the discussions will help to inform expert research as they explore public, patient and family perspectives and experiences of death and dying in different care settings and conditions in the UK and establish concerns and priorities for end of life care.

The UK population is becoming older. Most people die in great old age, often after a period when they are affected by one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or heart failure. Current care for patients approaching the end of life has not caught up with this changing population profile. We know very little about what members of the public think about death and dying, their experience of giving and receiving care within their family, or how they themselves would wish to be cared for in future.”

Through the discussions, the team want to find out:

  • If people think death and dying re ‘taboo’ subjects and whether it helps to talk about these issues and plan for future care;
  • What concerns people most about the prospect of dying
  • Where people would like to be cared for, if this is different from where they would prefer to die
  • What people think about balancing quality of life and length of life

“We hope that the knowledge gained from the study will help policy makers and healthcare professionals to develop end of life services which are better tailored to the needs of patients from all sectors of society,” adds Professor Pollock.

Participants of the study will be asked to help in one of two ways:

  • Take part in a single informal interview to discuss recent experiences of supporting one or more family members or friends through the process of dying, or;
  • Take part in a series of informal group discussion about different aspects of death and dying.

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