About Pittsburgh Community Deathcare

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 Pittsburgh Community Deathcare formed in 2017 from an awareness that the services provided by the current healthcare system are not always enough to support a person and their family throughout the dying process. We are an alliance of death-positive practitioners who offer a layer of support that complements conventional healthcare. Our group includes death doulas, holistic healthcare practitioners, educators, social workers, funeral directors, celebrants, and grief counselors. We are all passionate about reclaiming and reimagining end-of-life care: during the planning stage, through the dying process, immediately after passing, and in bereavement.

We want to open the conversation many people dread, to begin to ask, "What is a good death?" We want the people around us to face the end of their lives with honesty and courage, to realize that this moment, common to all living beings, holds great possibilities--including the chance, perhaps, for strengthening spiritual connections and deepening relationships with those we love. Whatever your unique challenges, needs, and wishes, we would like to help you co-create a death that is full of dignity, meaning, and integrity.


We support and educate dying persons, their families, and the community.


OUR MISSION

“I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them. Although I was given a dry, leathery corpse to dissect in my first term, that was solely a way to learn about human anatomy. Our textbooks had almost nothing on aging or frailty or dying. How the process unfolds, how people experience the end of their lives, and how it affects those around them seemed beside the point. The way we saw it, and the way our professors saw it, the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise.
— Atul Gawande, Being Mortal

Inform the community on end-of-life issues by sharing stories, experiences, and knowledge

Promote awareness of choices in end-of-life and deathcare by:

  • Offering non-medical support as a supplement to conventional healthcare

  • Connecting to practical services, emotional and spiritual support, and alternative therapies

 

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

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When someone in our culture is faced with advanced aging or a terminal illness, their own or that of a loved one, they are usually confronted with important decisions around healthcare. Often, we are so focused on medical issues that we don't think about other aspects of the dying process. Also, unfortunately, our collective fear of death leaves us completely unprepared and prevents us from encountering the reality openly. We may try to maintain a sense of normalcy and may not ever openly discuss the things that are most important: our relationships, our legacy, how we want to die... And too often, in an effort to do everything possible to preserve life, people end up in situations that are not at all what they would have chosen had they consciously faced the prospects earlier and made their wishes clearly known.

 

Ways to connect

 
 
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provider directory

Read more about our members, the services they provide, and ways to contact them for further information.

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resources

An ever growing list of resources that may provide education, support, or comfort.

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Community

Want to learn more about becoming a member of the collective? Have a specific question? Click here to reach out.