Ep. 74 Building Community Around Death: Lessons from a Death-Positive Event

Would you like to bring your community together to talk about death? Here’s how …

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In this episode we will deconstruct a large-scale death-positive community event and share with you the lessons learned from that experience with guest Holly Pruett, founder of Death OK: Let’s Talk About It. The goal of this discussion is to inspire others to create events in their own communities. Below you’ll find some previous podcasts with helpful resources.

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This podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series are supported by the generous contributions of listeners through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. To thank you for your donation I will mention your name on a future podcast episode and promote your EOL-related website, business, organization, book or cause! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and contribute $1 or $2 per month!

In the news:

  1. The staff in the ICU at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario have been connectingword-cloud-679915_640 with patients and their loved ones by creating “word clouds” for each patient, using the patient’s name plus adjectives and phrases suggested by loved ones and staff members (see the example of a word cloud in this photo.) Healthcare staff say the word clouds help remind them of the humanity of each patient, allow them to get to know the patient better, and stimulate story-telling about the patient. Families often take the word clouds home with them to help with their grieving process. (Make you own word clouds at www.wordle.com)
  2. A mobile palliative care team has been providing care to terminally ill homeless people on the streets of Seattle. The team receives referrals from shelters and drop-in clinics then tracks down the patients, evaluates them, and gets them connected to appropriate care. The program is similar to the PEACH (Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless) Program in Toronto. Results of the pilot project show that hospitals stays for the homeless patients have been reduced by 25% and ER visits by 50%.

Interview with Holly Pruett:

holly-pruett3Holly Pruett is a Life-Cycle Celebrant, Home Funeral Guide, and the founder of Death OK: Let’s Talk About It, a ten-hour day of inspiration, information and connection in Portland, Oregon. She is also the founder of DeathTalkProject.com and the co-founder of PDX Death Cafe.

In this interview she breaks down Death OK and shares the process used to create this community-wide event along with the lessons learned.

This highlights include:

  • Why a small team of organizers is best
  • The benefits of a private, intimate venue for such an event
  • The importance of sustaining volunteer commitment
  • How to structure the financing for a large event
  • The benefits of choosing an engaging and provocative keynote speaker

We hope you’ll be inspired to create your own community event! Find more information at www.DeathOK.com.

Be sure to sign up for End-of-Life University mailing list so you’ll receive notifications about the latest EOLU interviews other upcoming events!

Until next week:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.               Love Your Life.

Karen

About kwyattmd

Karen Wyatt MD is a family physician who has spent much of her 25 year medical career working with patients in challenging settings, such as hospice, nursing homes and indigent clinics. She is interested in a spiritual approach to medicine, illness, death and dying and is the author of two books. Check out her website at www.karenwyattmd.com
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