Palliative Care Australia

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Talking about Palliative Care

Talking about dying is hard. And it is sad. However, death is inevitable and the better prepared we are for our death, the easier it will be on the ones we leave behind.

It is also important to talk about death so you can prepare well. When we prepare in advance for our death we are able to relieve the decision making burden on those closest to us.

Palliative Care Australia works hard to raise the profile of palliative care to ensure Australians have the opportunity to live well until death. If we do not talk about dying and understand our rights when we die, then we run the risk of us, or our family member, having a difficult death. We need to talk about dying to become advocates for good palliative care and a comfortable death for all Australians.

However difficult that is for us.

It is important to inform those closest to you of your wishes for care should you be living with a life limiting illness. You might want to consider: where you would like to die (home, hospice, hospital?); what your ‘goals of care are’ – developed with your treating doctor or general practitioner; who you want with you when you die and what your advance care plan or directive may contain, for example: instructions about artificial nutrition, artificial respiration, who your substitute decision maker is if you are unable to speak for yourself.

This is a difficult subject to bring up with friends and family. Below are some suggested conversation starters that may help you broach the subject.

  • Now that we have moved into a retirement home, we have put our affairs in order and I’d like to show you where everything is…
  • I’ve talked to your mother about what I would like should I get really sick and I would like you to support her by…
  • I have made an advanced care plan, I’d like you to take a look at it so you understand what I would like…

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