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Dying2Learn about dying

A free online resource is helping improve conversations about the subject of dying and reducing social stigma.

Developed by a team of palliative care experts at Flinders University, Dying2Learn was developed as part of the Australian Department of Health CareSearch program, and will run as an online course.

Enrollments are now open for the 2018 session of the five-week program, which will be hosted from May 28 to July 9.

A new article in BMC Palliative Care (Springer Nature) analysed responses from the program’s first intake in 2016, and showed participants who completed the course felt more comfortable having conversations about death and dying.

CareSearch director, Professor Jennifer Tieman, said it was a useful resource for those involved in palliative care.

“Dying2Learn is an innovation in online ways of learning that shares key information on various issues about palliative care, death and dying,” she said.

“It offers a fantastic series of conversations; for example, people reflected on why we use euphemisms, how we create images of death and dying in art, literature and film, whether death is being medicalised, and how social media and technology is changing our view.

“Our evaluation of course responses were mostly favourable, with activity engagement indicating that people were interested and connected with the content.”

More than 1775 people have already registered for this year’s program.

Figures show that most enrollments in 2016 and 2017 came from around Australia, but some were also recorded from the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand.

Tieman said Australia’s ageing population and the corresponding increase in chronic diseases meant having conversations about dying was more important than ever.

“Being able to talk about death is important in normalising death as a part of life and being equipped to prepare for the end,” she said.

“This is why CareSearch is working on expanding this program and offering other information and support to health networks to make it better for all involved.”

To register for Dying2Learn click here.

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