Although many individuals shy away from contemplating the inevitability of death, most would agree that they would like to die well. A new review of existing literature, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, asks what makes a “good death” according to those involved in the process. Lay literature covers dying well almost thoroughly, but the scientific literature on the issue is rather sparse. What do the dying and the soon-to-be bereaved consider to be a good death?

Some believe that American culture, indeed Western culture at large, is becoming increasingly death-phobic. In sharp contrast to a century ago when seeing a dead body would be commonplace, nowadays, individuals outside of the relevant industries - health, funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria, etc. - very rarely see a corpse. Consequently, death is less likely to be discussed and even considered.

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