I learned a few new euphemisms for dying in this Conversation article. Confession time – it’s kind of my job to use the “D” word but even I, as a palliative care doctor, can find it awkward. But if we hide behind phrases like “passed away”, “gone” or “lost”, we contribute to confusion in some and participate in death denying.
If health professionals use euphemisms, they need to consider whether patients really understand what they’re trying to say. The article concludes that “Euphemisms have their place. But being able to talk openly (and clearly) about death and dying is important as it helps normalise death and avoids confusion.”
Happy palliative care week!