Talking to children about death, dying and palliative care: an action research approach to developing practice between hospices and primary schools in Scotland

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Aim: This presentation discusses a PhD study exploring how hospices can effectively engage with primary schools to involve children in conversation and education on death, dying and palliative care. It will outline the context of the study, the research process and the practice examples developed, discussing their significance to health promoting palliative care (HPPC).
    Background: Community engagement in end of life care issues has gained increased policy and practice recognition concerning its contribution to meaningful end of life care. In Scotland, engaging with schools to equip children with skills and knowledge to cope with death and bereavement has been emphasized (Scottish Government 2010). Hospices have been argued as well situated to promote such activities due to their expertise in end of life care (Salau, et al. 2007).
    Methodology: An action research approach was employed with two primary schools in Scotland. Participants included children aged 9 – 11 years, parents, teachers and hospice staff. It aimed to increase knowledge, experience and understanding of current practice relating to death education and engage in a process of change (Winter and Munn-Giddings 2001).
    Findings and Recommendations:
    Three practice suggestions were identified by participants as key ways forward to improve practice. These can be understood alongside HPPC principles as outlined by Kellehear (2005). They are currently in the process of being initiated, necessitating reorientation of service delivery across both school and hospice settings.
    The action research process highlights the significance of community engagement and ownership in developing practice. The significance of sharing and transferring knowledge and expertise across service providers is identified.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2013
    Event3rd International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference: Death, dying, loss and care: social experiences of medical events? - Strand Hotel, Limerick, Ireland
    Duration: 25 Mar 201327 Mar 2013


    Conference3rd International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference
    Internet address


    • palliative care
    • death
    • dying
    • coping with bereavement
    • children

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