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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Death is something we all have to cope with, however, we seem reluctant to think about, talk about, and plan for it. Professor Jennifer Tieman, Director of CareSearch and the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying at Flinders University, discusses the aims of Dying2Learn and how the online course offers the Australian general community the chance to learn and talk about death and dying.
Have you ever tried to broach the topic of end-of-life wishes with a loved one and been met with stunned silence? People often report this kind of experience, and research indicates that many people are uncomfortable with discussing death and dying. This leaves many Australians unprepared for death and the decisions that need to be made when a person is dying. Dr Lauren Miller-Lewis discusses the importance of bringing conversations about death to life through online learning.
The 2017 MOOC global contributions saw a definite desire from people to reclaim dying and death - to be more personally involved in processes which are the natural progressions in life. There was a great sense of 'community' in the need for more knowledge about death, about illness and preparing for death.
Personally for me it drove home the great yawning chasm of a need to educate our health care professionals - to cut out the 'doctor speak' and learn how to talk about dying and death with patients and family. We need trailblazing medicos, astute advanced care planners and guidelines as more and more people wish to be able to die at home. We need a powerful innovative palliative care structure to facilitate people's needs to ensure comfort and safety at end of life.
I really wasn’t sure what this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on death and dying was going to look like but I dived in boots and all.
I am a nurse working as an End of Life Care Coordinator, so dead, death and dying are among the three most common words I use every day at work. I approached this course not only from a professional point of view but as a member of the community. I feel this made my experience so much richer, as I was able to appreciate the comments from across the board and indeed from across the world.
Over the past two years, CareSearch has hosted Dying2Learn, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about death and dying. We created the course hoping we could provide a community platform for open social discussion and connection on death, dying and palliative care – something that at times can be hard to strike up a conversation about in our day-to-day lives.