Dying Well at the End of a Long Life

This was the first funded project for the Network, an Initiator Grant from the GW4.

The original objectives were to identify:

  1. key issues for research
  2. two or three possible projects for development, alongside possible funders
  3. additional personnel from both within and external to the GW4 network who would enhance these developments
  4. how the group could develop, including mechanisms for this.

Over the duration of the project (3 months) the topic expanded to include those dying with reduced capacity at whatever age, and this offered exciting potential for comparative research comparing people with dementia, with learning difficulties, in coma, etc.

The final plenary meeting, where all four University groups and external partners came together, was outstandingly successful. A programme of linked research projects was envisaged that members are passionate about, and that have considerable potential to challenge and inform future UK End of Life policy. An outline of a potential research programme which can encompass a number of linked projects was drawn up. We identified a number of locations in which people with reduced capacity are likely to die; in each, we wish to follow a cohort of people for 4 years or until they die, to discover how and why decisions pertinent to End of Life happen, using a mix of ethnography, interviews & other qualitative methods. This will provide experiential evidence, currently lacking, on which to base future End of Life policies. A GW4 Accelerator grant was submitted following this meeting.

Members of the group are excited to be working with each other. Were it not for the Initiator scheme, we would very probably not have started networking with each other and thus discovered the wealth of experience, skill and passion for this area of research.

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