Death Cafes should nurses be a part of them?

  1. 0
    I am posting a short paper I found and was wondering if nurses should be a part of death cafes. Why or Why not?


    "Death cafes," a trend that started in England, is spreading across the USA.



    Story Highlights

    • Death cafes are casual get-togethers
    • Social workers and chaplains host the meetings
    • Internet is spreading awareness of the gatherings

    No one wants to talk about death at the dinner table, at a soccer game or at a party, says Lizzy Miles, a social worker in Columbus, Ohio.

    But sometimes people need to talk about the "taboo" topic and when that happens, they might not be able to find someone who will listen, she says. "Whenever people hear I'm a hospice worker, they talk to me about death. It doesn't matter if I'm on an airplane, gambling in Las Vegas, or in a grocery store line. I really see firsthand the need to let people talk. It's my gift to others."

    Her gift sparked the birth of "death cafes" in the USA, a trend that started in England, is spreading across the USA and is about to take off, she says.

    The casual get-togethers are held at coffee shops, restaurants, and March 30 in Atlanta, at the historic Oakland Cemetery. Hosts are social workers and chaplains no professional association, philosophy or religion sponsors them, and no one tries to sell anything like coffins or funeral plots.

    The concept is really very simple and civilized.
    "They're a place to talk about the issues surrounding death while drinking tea and eating delicious cake,'' says Miles, 42.....
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Apr 7, '13 : Reason: TOS edit re copyright, added link
  2. 24 Comments so far...

  3. 5
    I guess I'm not really sure what you're asking. End of life education/counseling/planning is fairly common, although not always under this particular name or format, and Nurses not only take part but they tend to be the ones taking the lead in end of life issues.
    Lucky724, OCNRN63, Not_A_Hat_Person, and 2 others like this.
  4. 3
    I guess if a nurse wants to participate in something like that there's no reason they shouldn't, but the idea as presented is somewhat opaque based on the statement that it's not a support group, but wants to attract people "seeking authenticity".

    Whatever it actually means, when it comes to our role as nurses I think it's better to keep it closer to the healthcare delivery framework, whether the need is for spiritual support through the chaplain, family support, counseling for healthcare providers, or a multi-disciplinary ethics panel geared toward specific topics or cases all the participants are familiar with.
  5. 5
    Death cafes' normalize a difficult, not morbid, topic - USA Today

    ..Each cafe is different, but talk can center on advance directive planning, physician-assisted dying, funeral arrangements and what happens after death...

    Article labeled with a provocative title 'death cafe" = coffee clatch + information meeting to discuss death and dying topics, living wills. These are conversation sessions that have been held throughout the US for years, many times sponsored by hospice, palliative care, senior citizen groups and health care systems.
    I participated in many End of Life education sessions as RN in the 90's when I worked in health system affiliated Hospice program held at fire stations, VFW post, area restaurant, senior center.

    "Seeking authenticity" I interpreted as being given accurate, true information regarding above topics. Perfectly acceptable for RN participation in these cafe's.

    So much better to have advanced planning on what a person desires for there final wishes when dying than to make a decision when emotions are high, partially hearing what is being said due to adrenaline running in an ER/ICU setting.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Apr 7, '13
    SoldierNurse22, poppycat, Altra, and 2 others like this.
  6. 0
    Agree with that 100% - I had a friend once send me a message on Twitter very upset as her boyfriend's mother was actively dying and the family refused to allow her to be given morphine. They had no idea what to expect or why certain meds are administered. It's too bad the subject became politicized by some. I remember the "death panel" scare back in the 2008 election. I didn't realize the death cafe was something that functions as a referral for specific patients and/or families.
  7. 3
    Quote from nursel56
    I didn't realize the death cafe was something that functions as a referral for specific patients and/or families.
    I don't think these function as referrals at all ... just a social movement to provide a forum in which it's socially acceptable for death to be a topic of conversation.
  8. 5
    the fact there are 0 comments following the article, is very telling in and of itself.
    western society does not want to deal with death and dying at all, on any level, at any time.
    the worst time to 'discuss' it is when there is an acute/emergent situation...
    and so this concept, while admirable, still needs to grow in interest and membership.
    at this time, i don't see how this will happen.
    wish it would, however i am just being realistic.

    as nurses though, we really are in a position in introducing concepts, questions, concerns and disseminating reliable info to the (interested) public.
    so yes, nurses should be a part of such a vital conversation.

    leslie
    SoldierNurse22, queenelsa, poppycat, and 2 others like this.
  9. 0
    When I worked in assisted living, there were Advance Directive discussions for residents a few times a year. They were completely voluntary, and focused largely on preparing for the legal side of death. I don't see why a nurse, especially a hospice nurse, couldn't be part of one.
  10. 5
    I wonder if "Death Cafe" isn't sort of an off putting name...
  11. 0
    I don't much care for that term either... I wouldn't want to participate in a death cafe.


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