Over the years, here in North America, we have been in a sideways drift, much like a car drifting off the road through the gravel and into the ditch upside down. In the name of medical progress we seem to have put our dying and death care car on autopilot and are now rumbling through the rough roadside gravel of over taxed, under staffed, expensive dying and death care system. We are heading for the ditch – more quickly than many of us are willing to accept.
Looking into some facts
- British Columbia spends $17 billion annually on healthcare, 41% of their entire financial budget.
- British Columbia is currently short 1,634 nurses.
- The death rate in British Columbia is expected to rise 40% over the next twenty years.
- 90% of British Columbians want to die at home.
Hospitals are, by their very nature, designed to prevent death and support recovery, they are not designed for dying and death – the result was the birth of hospice some fifty years ago. Given the ever escalating rate of death and the demand for better death care we are faced with a dilemma – where to provide dying and death services. Our current cultural habit of out sourcing our dying and death care to hospitals is unsustainable financially for certain.
This tendency of ours to outsource has other even more profound costs than just dollars and cents. Families, neighborhoods, and communities have forgotten how to care for each other at these important and transformational times of life. We have lost touch with our ability to say good-bye emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We have overdone the efficient out sourcing to the point of retarding our own natural, healthy, authentic grieving. We have misplaced most of our supportive dying and death rituals replacing them instead with unsatisfying and somewhat corporate 20th century fast food type services that lack the emotional, spiritual and physical nutrition a more human(e) and down home service used to offer.
Thankfully there is a growing grassroots movement to bring dying and death back home. All we need to do now is remind ourselves of all those practices we once used to say good-bye fully to our deceased loved ones.
Come join Don Morris and Stephen Garrett as we remember how to create ritual, care for our dying loved one, and give loving human(e) care to their body. You can receive updates for Stephen Garrett on Facebook or Twitter.