Background Digital legacy is the digital content that we leave after death. Social media is becoming a more prominent part of our everyday lives. A recent report found that 94% digital consumers, aged 16–64, have at least one social media account, with one in every three minutes online devoted to social networking (GWI Social, 2017). It has been predicted that by 2098 Facebook could be the biggest virtual graveyard (The Telegraph, 2016). It is a forum where palliative care is prominent with 685 500 tweets in a two-year period relating to palliative care, from both health care professionals and the general public. (Nwosu et al, 2015). It has been seen as beneficial for a specialist palliative care team to gain insight to how a patient is feeling through their blog (Lowney & O’Brien, 2012). Dr. Kate Granger used social media to document her journey, which has given a unique insight of a doctor living with a terminal illness (Granger, 2014). However, use of social media can also have negative consequences; a father felt his son’s dying process had been violated by friends setting up a Facebook page to raise money for his children’s future school fees (Smith, 2011). The Digital Legacy Association – https://digitallegacyassociation.org/ – has produced a public awareness leaflet to help drive the importance of digital legacy forward, but as health care professionals do we assist this?
Question How well do we as palliative care professionals prepare patients for their digital legacy?
Methods An online questionnaire will be sent to doctors, nurses and social workers working at hospices within the West Midlands which they are asked to complete and submit within six weeks. The questionnaire asks about: their own use of social media; if they have thought about their own digital legacy; whether they have discussed digital legacy with a patient and, if so, what stimulated that conversation.
Results The results are pending and will be complete by August 2017.
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