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P-8 Dead chatty!
  1. Louise Johnson and
  2. Paul Marriott
  1. St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham, UK


Background Research suggests that young people are much less comfortable than their older counterparts with the topic of dying and death in a variety of different ways (Dying Matters Coalition, 2016). Engagement with the local college identified a gap in talking to young people about death, particularly in the context of students responsible for having ‘good death conversations’ within their chosen profession.

Aims To create/facilitate the development of a safe space for students of health and social care and those going into public services, to explore the subject of death and how to have difficult conversations. The dialogue may be different for each group, but how you feel when talking to families may be similar.

Methods Pilot project launched April – June 2019, 1 × 2 hours per month, non-compulsory, with coffee and cake (mandatory). Course tutors attended and college counsellors notified in case further support required. Sessions were student led but focussed on key topics, and they chose the project name ‘Dead Chatty’, as it reflected the open nature of the discussions.

Results of evaluation 28 students; attended up to three sessions – 12 evaluated.

Distance travelled calculation based on questionnaire, shown as percentage improvement.

(No change=3); 0%–9%=2; 10%–19%=2; 20%–29%=4; 30%–39%=1

Conclusions It was difficult to get students together (short project, exam times, work placements etc.) better scheduling might help, as would running over the whole academic year. There were tangible changes within the group on the subject matter, confidence grew and humour developed.

What did you like best?

  • People sharing experiences

  • Open discussions

  • No judgement of opinions.

What could be improved?

  • Nothing

  • More sessions.

A space where students can ask questions, be supported and tackle the taboo of death and dying has been created.

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