MEMORIAL: Mark Smith, Dot Hamilton, Sue Moss's brother John Blundell and Donna Pope at Eidsvold Hospital's Memorial Morning Tea.
MEMORIAL: Mark Smith, Dot Hamilton, Sue Moss's brother John Blundell and Donna Pope at Eidsvold Hospital's Memorial Morning Tea. Alex Treacy

'Death cafe' at hospital aims to remove stigma

EIDSVOLD Hospital wants to start hosting regular "death cafes" to destigmatise conversations about what happens at the end of our lives.

Death cafes, which popped up in the UK in 2011, are relaxed gatherings where those attending share a cup of tea and their thoughts on death.

The hospital hosted its first unofficial cafe on Tuesday, after the Memorial Morning Tea for long-time Eidsvold nurse Sue Moss, who died in January last year.

"It's a cafe to talk about whatever, a lot of people don't want to talk about death," nurse Mark Smith said.

Nurse Karen Hansen led a circle discussion at the hospital, with leading questions including where those gathered would like to be when they died, what makes a good death and how people would like to be remembered.

The wide-ranging conversation included how unexpectedly heavy ashes were, whether people had funeral plans in place, and how difficult it could be for healthcare professionals dealing with death regularly.

Nurse Donna Pope said: "They tell you don't get attached to patients. But how can you not? We are like a family."

Director of nursing Nicci Maher also gave an update on the therapeutic gardens to be installed at the front of the hospital.

The hospital has engaged Jo Aquilina from Therapeutic Gardens as a consultant to the project and she will visit on August 20 for a "discovery session".

Ms Maher said it could take up to 12 to 18 months to complete the garden.

"If we're going to do it, we're doing it well," she said.

She said she wanted the garden to be "purposeful for the community as a whole," not just for the benefit of the hospital.

Ms Maher said the plaque for Ms Moss would eventually be displayed in the hospital's administration area, which is being renovated.

Ms Moss's brother John Blundell delivered a moving rendition of the poem he wrote, called The Loss of A Mate, for his sister's funeral.



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