Death Care – the ingredients – counting the cost

Where does social justice rate in the ‘ending of days’ and death care industries?

There would be some people who would take exception to the naming of these services as industries.  But if you add up the number of large corporations who have a stake in the operation of how we do dying and death in this country, it is hard to describe it in any other way. In addition, the influence these businesses have on government decisions could be interpreted as having an influence that leaves citizen voters disenfranchised from the political system.  So industry it is.  Best we not be hoodwinked by their self-appointed status – of being somehow superior to the end users of their services. We should constantly remind ourselves that these people are service providers and without us ordinary folks using their services they would not exist.

If this industry from health care for the living to after death for the grieving family was to be packaged up as various products and services how would it be labelled?

Would it be like so many food products open to all kinds of interpretations and contain all many of undisclosed ingredients that were nigh impossible for the general consumer to decipher let along understand? It so happens that this is exactly the case in both instances.

The medicalisation of the end-of-life has people kept alive on machine s way beyond their ability to live independently.  And from which they will never recover any sense of normalcy.

The commodification of after death care especially the funeral industry has resulted in a range of products and services that if priced separately would not add up to the package prices we are presented with.

It has families bamboozled by choices all based on technological intervention, many of which do not produce better quality of life outcomes.   Not having an AHCD or Enduring Guardian leaves medicos with few choices / options but to keep patients ‘alive’

Likewise with after death care, if there is no After Death Care Plan that is fully understood by the remaining family then an all inclusive funeral package is bought that often leaves the family sidelined to watch on as the ‘process’ follows a pre-arranged formula that fits the industry need to churn out or ‘process’ a pre-determined number of bodies so as to meet its business targets for the quarter.

There are exceptions of course as with any industry, but they are becoming harder to find.  Shopping around is essential.

This brings us back to the point of what this article is about – social justice. How to label and price after-death-care products and services.

To start with, social justice is not a game.  It’s not something to be mucked about with. There have to be basic principles that underpin the system.  Transparency, disclosure, truth in advertising, empowering the end user are musts. Price gouging and taking advantage of the vulnerable and less fortunate are musts in the opposite sense – they must be seen as unethical and intolerable.

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