I think I see what you're saying. I think this service would be something to consider at the same time that you (as a physician) are considering a palliative care consult or hospice referral. As for how to find it, I think marketing to practitioners is the way to go. You could first start locally by encouraging palliative care doctors and practitioners that refer to palliative care often (i.e. oncologists, advance heart failure doctors, transplant hepatologists, etc.) to refer patients to the website/app. If the service takes off, you could then expand to non-local practitioners. Eventually, if the service becomes well known enough, patient's will discover it themselves in the way that most general practitioners and alcoholics often know about AA as "common knowledge." Does that answer your question?
Thanks so much for the article and link! That post definitely helped my place my gut feelings about the evolution of our treatment of death into a historical context. As for the maggiescentres website, I think it looks like an excellent resource - almost like a drop-in palliative care clinic. Of course it's based in the UK, where palliative care was born....
1) I think James's idea is very similar, and could in fact be integrated into the same idea. You could have a service that matches not-acutely-dying elders and then the ability to also re-match individuals with a new user when the situation changes.
2) As for the second part, I think this service is inherently different from the service provided by pancan.org in that it can match you to others based on more than just a diagnosis. Imagine you are a pancreatic cancer patient and you'd rather be connected to someone of the same age, family status, and religious background than another pancreatic cancer patient with nothing else in common. In this situation, a more comprehensive matchmaking algorithm is more likely to provide the type of connection you are seeking.
3) I'm not sure if there are general support groups on dying. I think that if given the choice between attending a general support group on dying vs. a support group on dying from the specific disease you have, most patients would probably likely choose the 2nd option. That being said, I think (as I said above) there are some things that are more important to patient's than their diagnosis. If I am the spouse of someone who is dying and I'm looking forward to raising 3 children alone in the immediate future, I might be looking for a future'single-parent support group that probably doesn't exist. I like the idea of matchmaking, because it allows the individual to identify what is most important to him/her and hopefully find a "sponsor" or partner-in-grief based on those priorities.