U.K. Hopes to Conquer Death’s Taboo

July 18, 2008 07:03 AM
by Liz Colville
The British government is encouraging funeral homes and crematoria to stage open houses to help combat citizens’ lack of preparedness for death.

30-Second Summary

The “taboo” surrounding death discourages people from writing up wills or thinking about funeral arrangements, some British ministers believe. The solution, some say, is “open days” at funeral homes and crematoria, writes the Guardian.

Dominic Maguire of the National Association of Funeral Directors applauds the idea, telling the Guardian, “People make provision for things that might never happen such as getting car insurance. But so few people make provision for the inevitable – death.”

The program will also fund at-home deaths with “round-the-clock support” after evidence that home is where most people would prefer to die.

End-of-life planning is seen as a “neglected area” of the U.K.’s National Health Service. Paul Cann of the group Help the Aged told the BBC, “For far too long, there has been a presumption that death should be at the convenience of the system, as opposed to respecting the individual wishes of those who are approaching their final days.”

Training doctors to better communicate with their patients is part of the NHS’s initiative.

Headline Links: U.K. promises better end-of-life care

Opinion & Analysis: End-of-life care in the spotlight

Related Topic: End-of-life care in the U.S.

Reference: Dealing with death; estate planning guide


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