Can Death Cafés Resuscitate Morale in Hospitals?

Article Summary by Rachel Hammer

Death Cafés are non-profit social franchises that arise spontaneously in communities to serve as informal forums for discussing death. There is a great need within the medical community for the kind of conversation that Death Cafés foster: open, unstructured, spontaneous, genuine and interdisciplinary dialogue. This paper describes a model for implementation of Death Cafes in health care settings.

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Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Hammer completed a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction during medical school at Mayo Clinic, and completed combined training in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Tulane in 2020. She has joined the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Affairs division of Primary Care, and serves as Psychiatry Clerkship Director for the Tulane School of Medicine. Her professional interests include narrative medicine, psychosomatic symptoms and illness, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and integrative primary care. Her current scholarly work focuses on Post-ICU Care Syndrome, Death Cafes for ICU worker burnout, and COVID-related family and caregiver psychological stress. She is a recent lymphoma survivor, and enjoys baking sourdough bread, creative writing, gardening bromeliads, and long walks under live oaks with her partner and hound dog.

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