End of Life Care: What is Important for Me and for Us

A Review of Recent UK Strategy and Policy Documents and their Implications for Chaplains


  • Pia Matthews St Mary's University, Twickenham




end-of-life, dying, choice, community, family, spirituality, chaplaincy, holistic


This article reviews some recent UK strategy and policy documents about building a “national choice offer” to enable end of life care to be delivered at home, and encouraging the formation of supportive communities. Notably, with the implicit assumption that planned choice is sufficient for end of life care, the contribution of healthcare chaplaincy is neglected. The article explores the implications for healthcare chaplains, how chaplains can help to build up compassionate communities, and some practical aspects of community support for those of faith and no faith through initiatives for parish support.

Author Biography

Pia Matthews, St Mary's University, Twickenham

Pia Matthews is a lecturer in theology, philosophy, bioethics, medical law and health- care chaplaincy at St John’s Catholic Seminary, Wonersh and at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK. She was also appointed an expert for the 2015 Synod on the Family by Pope Francis. Pia is particularly interested in theological and philosophical anthropology and she specializes in issues to do with profound disability, dementia, mental health, suicide and end of life care. She has written several articles and her two recent books Pope John Paul II and the Apparently “Non-Acting” Person and God’s Wild Flowers: Saints with Disabilities are published by Gracewing.


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How to Cite

Matthews, P. (2017). End of Life Care: What is Important for Me and for Us: A Review of Recent UK Strategy and Policy Documents and their Implications for Chaplains. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 5(1), 97–116. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.29139