Communicating about end-of-life matters

Communicating about end-of-life matters


POINT OF VIEW

[Palliative care and end-of-life communication] is a fairly taboo topic and that makes it to be an under-researched and fairly neglected area not only just in Singapore but in many parts of the world.

Yeo Su Lin

Associate Professor of Communication Management (Practice)


In brief

  • 53 per cent of Singaporeans are aware and comfortable discussing their own palliative care and end-of-life matters but not that of others. 82 per cent of Singaporeans want palliative care to be more accessible. 
  • Digital media has helped to remove the fear around discussing palliative care and other end-of-life topics, especially for the younger to middle-aged groups.
  • While talking about death and dying may not be comfortable for some, having these conversations within families, communities, and healthcare providers can help prepare people emotionally for their deaths and that of others, and ensure that people receive their preferred care and treatment towards the end of their lives.

Death is a part of life.  However, people often feel awkward and ill at ease when faced with the opportunity for communication at the end of life. While talking about death and dying may not be comfortable for some, research has shown that having these conversations within families and communities, and with our healthcare provider can help prepare us emotionally for our deaths and that of others, and better ensure that we will receive the care and treatment that we prefer at the end of life.

Yeo Su Lin is an Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business.  Her research focuses on corporate reputation, crisis management and health communication.  In this podcast, she discusses a recent nationwide study which was conducted to better understand end-of-life communication and sentiments towards palliative care in Singapore.

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Inside the mind of

Yeo Su Lin serves as an Associate Professor of Communication Management (Practice) at Singapore Management University's Lee Kong Chian School of Business. Her research focuses on Corporate Reputation, Crisis Management and Health Communication. She is also the Director of the Institute of Public Relations-Singapore Management University Alliance (Southeast Asia) and a previous Academic Advisor for Business Major (Communication Management) at SMU.