A joint initiative between ISKCON UK and the SWAN end of life scheme was launched at a day conference in the ISKCON Temple in Leicester. SWAN offers dedicated support to patients in the last days of life and to their families into bereavement and beyond. The SWAN scheme is a national program which is present in 47 Trusts up and down the country. It was set up by senior nurse and assistant director of nursing at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Fiona Murphy MBE.
Fiona had recently spent six weeks in Mumbai and Vrindavan, tending to dying devotees at the Bhaktivedanta Hospice, and was moved by what she saw there. The care of the dying in the Vaishnava tradition - where the person and their wishes are more important than the disease - are very similar to the considerations advocated by SWAN and nurses and doctors in the Krishna community agreed with her.
The launch event - a day-long conference - was attended by around fifty nurses and doctors, many of them practising devotees of Krishna, and everyone felt the concepts discussed would be very helpful in caring for the dying and in helping bereaved families. Senior nurse Sukanti Radha Dasi was the organiser of the conference and ISKCON's National Office was represented by Praghosa Das.
Key speakers from ISKCON included Kripa Moya das who presented “Journey of the Soul”, and Nila Madhava das spoke about last rites and funeral services.
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