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OA57 The digitalisation of dying, loss and grief on social media channels
  1. Mark Taubert and
  2. James Norris
  1. Velindre NHS Trust, UK


Background The internet and birth of social media channels have changed the way in which we deal with death, loss and grief forever. Our photo albums are now saved digitally and shared on Facebook. Our private thoughts are now relayed on Twitter. Each year we spend more of our lives online, this workshop will address what happens as we approach death and when we switch off. After building a relationship digitally they recently presented together at the Macmillan Primary Care Conference on the subject ‘Can we Palliate Social media’. The outcome of the workshop can be viewed below:

Aim We will highlight how the digital landscape has changed to help evoke thought and discussion around the subject of digitising death. They will explore the ethical and moral questions regarding end of life within the digital context. The role of the HCP will be examined in relation to social media and patient practice. All attendees will be provided with a number of simple tasks to carryout online. This will again provide a better understanding around the conversations that are occurring online and the digitisation of death.

Method An interactive 40 min workshop will be directed by us. This will conclude with a 20-minute discussion. Leaflets containing relevant tasks for HCPs to carryout online can be carried out after the workshop.


  • Understanding of the main social and digital channels that we (in the UK) use today.

  • Understanding of how online channels have changed how we communicate and behave.

  • The different ways grieving, remembering and mourning occurs online

  • How death, grief and loss is different online

  • Examination of how social media is breaking down the notion of death

  • Reflect on how could/should HCPs and EOL professionals engage online in relation to EOL matters.

  • Understanding how our digital footprint will ultimately become our digital legacy.

Conclusion Each participant/attendee will have a basic understanding of how death, grief and loss are addressed online within the UK. Examples of how different patients (especially children) are using social media in hospitals will be provided to help highlight the catalyst for change that social media has become.

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