End of Life Room

Its surprising how little we acknowledge the end of our life. We are certainly all going to experience this, so why do we fail so often at acknowledging it. This is even more acute when we consider hospitals. A place where 32% of us will experience our last days.

This issue covered again today, in an article by the Observer - Great Ormond Street Hospital have just established an ‘End of Life Room’. This room is dedicated to the terminally ill children who have exhausted procedures and interventions to live out their final days with their grieving family. The issue was highlighted by a family who wanted to stay with their terminally ill child in the final days of his life yet had no-where appropriate to do this at the hospital. After their child died they talked to the hospital about their idea of an ‘end of life room’ and raised £46,000 to establish the vision. 

A hospital is often a very frightening place for anyone, but particularly young people. The  medicalisation of every issue often overlooks the issue of death. Instead the medical system applies its enormous arsenal to all situations. This arsenal lacks the poignance that is required when all that can be done, has been done.

The ‘End of Life Room’ at Great Ormond Street captures the need of reflection and grief well by decorating it with illustrations from Quentin Blake and removing a great deal of the technology and medical instruments common in hospitals. Well done Great Ormond Street and Jenny and Michael Walker who helped establish the room.