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‘To allay fears of death we need to bring it back to life’

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‘To allay fears of death we need to bring it back to life’

The over-medicalisation of death has pushed it to the back of minds. This needs to change, say experts

Senior features writer

As Covid-19 deaths fall in SA and the pandemic recedes, people are again pushing death to the margins of their lives. But greater support and compassion should be offered to the bereaved and those dying, and more community involvement with health and social care services is needed, say experts from an international commission on the value of death.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many people die the ultimate medicalised death, often alone but for masked staff in hospitals and intensive care units, unable to communicate with their families, except digitally,” said commission co-chair Dr Libby Sallnow, a palliative medicine consultant at St Christopher’s Hospice in London.

“How people die has changed dramatically over the past 60 years, from a family event with occasional medical support to a medical event with limited family support. A fundamental rethink is needed in how we care for the dying, our expectations about death and the changes required in society to rebalance our relationship with death.”..

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