The Wheeler Centre
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Dead Calm: Transitions
In the first event in our Dead Calm series, we delve into the detail of the process of dying. Our panel of experts are people who witness, ease or facilitate the transition from life to death in a professional capacity.
When is the moment of death? Is it about the body, or consciousness? Is death improving in Australia today? And how might we start thinking differently about death – from the way we plan for death to the language we use around dying?
Host Hilary Harper and guests Sarah Winch, Efterpi Soropos and Denise Love discuss definitions of death, the best environments for death and how medical practitioners can work with spiritual and religious people to make deaths as peaceful as possible.
Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.
Efterpi Soropos became passionate about creating space and artistic experiences for the dying and vulnerable after the personal experience of losing her mother to breast cancer in 1995.
Denise Love began her professional life as a registered nurse before quickly discovering that it wasn’t just the medicine she offered people – but the kindness that supported healing, or made death more tolerable.
Following that discovery, she began midwifery training, and again felt that 'being with someone' had a much greater impact on wellbeing that most 'treatments'. She set up an in-home palliative care service, where often one of the only 'tools' she had for comfort and care was herself. She eventually set up a full-time doula service for birthing and dying people.
Dr Sarah Winch is head of the discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professionalism at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, and CEO of Health Ethics Australia, a charity, aiming to improve death literacy for Australians and compassion safety for clinicians.