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Well-Dying Craze Gangdong-gu Operates Unique Pre-Death Planning Service


Well-Dying Craze Gangdong-gu Operates Unique Pre-Death Planning Service

 - The Funeral Preplanning project, first started nationwide, to expand its operations nationwide this year

 - Expanded operations of well-dying education and Pre-End-of-Life Care Directive Counseling Centers

 - Provision of one-stop service through public-private cooperation with local welfare centers for professional and systematic operation 

  On Mar. 8, a welfare officer from Cheonho 2-dong and a medical aid case manager from Gangdong-gu visited the home of an elderly (83). The reason for the visit is that the elderly were classified as a high-risk individual due to suffering from various illnesses such as gallbladder cancer, cerebral infarction, and neuritis. In addition, he has been living alone in a shabby basement room, without contacting any family members, since his family relationships were severed due to a divorce long ago. 

  Among the 18,359 basic livelihood security recipients living in Gangdong-gu, 28.9% (5,305) are single households aged 65 and older. The number of deaths of individuals with no family ties has increased by 66.6% over the past two years, with cases of individuals being found dead alone or cases of family members refusing to claim the body due to prolonged family estrangement and social isolation. As a result, the instances of public funerals being held have been on the rise.

  In response to this, the Gangdong-gu office (Head: Lee Soo-hee) received significant support from residents last year by piloting preplanning services such as completing Pre-End-of-Life Medical Care Directives, conducting well-dying education, and formulating advance directives for medical treatment, aiming to guarantee everyone’s right to a dignified death. The Funeral Preplanning project, implemented for the first time nationwide last year, is planned to be expanded to all neighborhoods this year.

  The funeral preplanning service allows individuals to designate a proxy in advance through the Social Security Information System, enabling prompt after-death arrangements to be carried out according to the individual’s wishes in case of a medical emergency or death.

  Especially starting this year, if an individual answers that they do not have family or friends to contact in case of an emergency in the pre-funeral planning document, they will be classified as a "priority management subject." The respective community centers will enhance the management system, providing continuous case monitoring, coordinating with local welfare centers to support caregiving services, and reinforcing monitoring measures.

  Furthermore, starting from June to November this year, Gangdong-gu plans to expand the target audience of the well-dying education program and Pre-End-of-Life Medical Care Directive Counseling Centers to include basic livelihood security recipients, near-poor households, and basic pension recipients. These programs will be operated six times a year in each neighborhood (dong).

  This year, the well-dying education program is planned to be conducted through collaboration with the Gangdong Community Center, the Seongnae Community Center, and Seonggajeong Senior Welfare Center. A training session for Gangdong-gu officials already took place last 7th. Director Kang Won-nam from the Happy Death Well-Dying Research Institute lectured on the unfamiliar and uncomfortable topic of "death" in an easy-to-understand and comfortable manner, resulting in very high engagement and satisfaction from the participating employees.

  Positive feedback followed from the employees, stating that the lecture content “recognizing and preparing for death allows us to cherish each remaining day,” was impressive. They also expressed that awareness of "dying well" is necessary from the perspective of practitioners who need to formulate policies due to aging populations and an increase in single households.

  The Pre-End-of-Life Medical Care Directives, which allow individuals to provide in advance their will to discontinue futile life-sustaining treatment, were piloted last year. This initiative has been evaluated as an opportunity to improve awareness of dignity in death and enhance autonomy in decision-making regarding death.

  The Pre-End-of-Life Care Directive Counseling Centers operating with an expanded target audience this year conduct educational sessions on the purpose, effectiveness, and revocation procedures at Gangdong Senior Welfare Center. Counselors affiliated with the Gangdong Senior Club are responsible for providing counseling and accepting applications. Lastly, through a one-stop operation at Wonderful Life Well-Dying, participants are provided with convenience in applying for directives, such as registering for End-of-Life Care Directives.

  The head of Gangdong-gu Lee Soo-hee said, “I hope that everyone can live well, age well, and die well by gracefully completing the journey of life without futile life-sustaining treatment. In this aspect, I will do my best to fulfill the social responsibility of ensuring a healthy life and dignified end for the socially vulnerable residents so that no one is neglected until their death due to economic difficulties, and strive for welfare in Gangdong-gu that encompasses the entirety of life.”



A senior receiving guidance on Pre-End-of-Life Medical Care Directives, and signing his will

Well-dying education targeting employees