The idea is to help people have difficult conversations, “empowering” them at a time when, thanks to Covid-19, many of us have dwelled on our collective mortality more than usual. Indeed, according to The Liminal Space director Amanda Gore, research shows that “one in five of us are thinking about death more since the outbreak of Covid-19” and that “80% of people are more likely to be thinking about death in 2020 than actually talking about it.”
The mobile-first site offers practical tips about how to discuss death, and also shares people’s personal experiences around topics such as what dying looks like, talking to someone with COVID-19 about dying, having a dignified death, talking to children about these topics, how to overcome the fear of death and more. Users can also Download and share tips that can help in starting conversations with loved ones.
The voices used on the platform include spokespeople from charities such as Compassion in Dying and Marie Curie; as well as experts in end-of-life and palliative care and people who’ve experienced different aspects of end-of-life care, who share practical advice on how to manage end-of-life decisions, such as choices they have about how and where they die.
Many of those who shared their stories for the site did so as part of death and dying-focused project undertaken by The Liminal Space in 2019 along with The Academy of Medical Sciences called The Departure Lounge, spaces including a popup in Lewisham shopping centre, south London, which were styled like airports which aimed to start a public conversation about the end of life and how we can support people to have a ‘good death’ in the future.
These have been supplemented with stories from charities such as Compassion in Dying and Marie Curie, and insights from some of the leading palliative and end-of-life care physicians, nurses and experts in the country (see ‘notes to editors’ for a full list of these experts).
The project has been supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences and a government fund run by Innovate UK, an organisation set up earlier this year to “help drive innovation throughout the pandemic,” according to Liminal Space.
“We felt it was hugely important to find a way to enable people to start having these essential conversations about end of life so that we can all be better equipped to deal with death, and more empowered to make important decisions,” says Gore.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, adds, “This year has made conversations about death and dying even more challenging with people more likely to be distanced from their loved ones. However, like so many things in the pandemic, Life Support shows that we can use digital space to enable and support those conversations to take place.”
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