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End of Life Care – Having the Conversation

End Of Life Care – Having The Conversation

National Palliative Care week passed quietly without too much publicity or noise. Why did this happen? Is it because we are frightened to talk about what we want when we come to the end of life? Having the conversation with your family to talk about your wishes is difficult, but it shouldn’t be. Most people wish to die at home, but the reality is that most people will die in a hospital. So we need to talk to our family about what we want…it’s all about being prepared and staying in control.

So what is palliative care? Palliative care is care provided for people living with, and dying from an eventually fatal condition and for whom the primary goal is quality of life.

Palliative care is the relatively new name for the specialized way of providing supportive care for any person with a life-threatening illness approaching the end of life. It is available for everyone: young and old, those with cancer or any other terminal diagnosis, people of any ethnic or cultural background, wherever they live – in the city or in the country.

And when it comes to palliative care, one conversation can make all the difference. Too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain. Surely it is time to transform our culture, and share the way we want to live at the end of our lives.  And it is better to do this with the people we love, before it is too late.

If you find it difficult to talk to family about your wishes, then it is beneficial to use the services of an Elder Mediator who will sit down with the family, and facilitate a discussion, giving everyone a chance to contribute to the conversation, but more importantly to be informed of your wishes. Lyn Lucas at Catherine Henry Lawyers, is one of a handful of specially trained Elder Mediators in Australia and she can be contacted at


You can read about palliative care services at Palliative Care Australia here.

You can download a Discussion Starter Toolkit here.

You can read more at The Conversation Project here.


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