Planning and talking to help minimise distress associated with death, dying and bereavement: The role of public health

Abba, Katharine
(2016) Planning and talking to help minimise distress associated with death, dying and bereavement: The role of public health. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract Background People who are dying, caring for somebody who is dying, or have been bereaved can experience problems such as isolation, depression and anxiety. Some of these problems might be reduced if people were better prepared for death and were able to support one another when they were affected by death. There has been little previous research into how public health interventions might encourage these changes at a population level. This thesis aimed to explore this subject with a particular focus on talking to family and friends about end of life preparations and preferences. The research was embedded within the new and innovative Cheshire Living Well Dying Well (CLWDW) public health programme, which was established to address the issues described. Methods Mixed methods were used. A quantitative follow-up survey was used to test a CLWDW intervention to encourage people to prepare for the end of their life and to discuss their end of life preferences with the people closest to them. A qualitative interview study was used to explore the wider context in which people talk with one another about issues relating to death and dying. Findings The CLWDW interactive presentations delivered to community groups and to people working in health and social care were well received and effective in encouraging appropriate actions. Of respondents who completed follow-up at three months post-event (28% response rate), 60% reported that they had made a change or taken some action as a result of the event, including 43% who had talked with somebody about their own end of life wishes. In interviews, participants of all ages expressed the view that death, particularly bereavement, was a crucial issue and that it was important to prepare for and to talk about death and bereavement. Various barriers to talking about, preparing for and supporting people affected by death were described, as were various ideas to support improvement. Conclusions Most people in the UK consider it important to be prepared for end of life and death, although many have not made these preparations. In the right circumstances, most are willing and able to talk openly about death and dying, including their own end of life preferences. Appropriate population-level interventions to encourage these behaviours can be well received and effective.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 14:15
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 01:30
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