Experts have said that in order to achieve good death for all, society's attitude towards dying, death and bereavement needs to change.
By 2030 the annual number of deaths around the world is expected to rise from 58 million to 74 million, but too many people still die alone, in pain, without dignity, or feeling alienated.
AdvertisementThe articles aim to remedy this by exploring how lessons learnt from end of life care for cancer patients can be adapted for those dying from chronic conditions like heart failure and dementia.
In the first article, Scott Murray and Kirsty Boyd said that the ability to make an accurate and timely diagnosis of dying is "a core clinical skill that could be done better in all care settings."
Professor John Ellershaw and colleagues who argue that to achieve a good death for all "we need a fundamental shift of emphasis" have supported the need for mandatory training.
They said "we must strive to ensure that a good death is the expectation rather than the exception in all settings."
In another article about having the difficult conversations about the end of life, GP Stephen Barclay and oncologist Jane Maher believe that clinicians need to create repeated opportunities for patients to talk about their future and end of life care, while respecting the wishes of those who do not want to discuss such matters.
"The right conversations with the right people at the right time can enable patients and their loved ones to make the best use of the time that is left and prepare for what lies ahead," they wrote.
Talking about dying is also the subject of an article by Jane Seymour and colleagues. They said: "Eradicating ignorance among clinicians, patients, and the public about what can be achieved with modern palliative care and encouraging dialogue about end of life care issues are important means of changing attitudes."
Finally, Aziz Sheikh and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh explored how the spiritual needs of dying patients can be understood and met in pluralist and secular societies.
They believe healthcare workers "need to be aware of their role in listening to patients, their carers and families, and others in the wider healthcare system with knowledge and understanding of the nuances of religious and cultural traditions."
The articles were published in the bmj.com.
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