A look at dying well


It is the last thing that you will ever do, so why not do it well?


How we can die better

The Grattan Institute, a Melbourne think tank, issued a report on dying well. The report shows that, although 70% of people want to die at home, only 14% do. Well worth a read but as you may not have time, we have picked out the best parts for you.

The key recommendations of the report are:

1. Implement a national public education campaign on the limits of health care and end-of-life decision making.
2. Ensure end-of-life discussions and plans occur by introducing incentives and services at relevant touchpoints (e.g. 75+ health reviews and entry into care).
3. Better coordination and implementation of end of life plans to ensure end-of-life plans are followed (e.g. legalise them).
4. Provide home-based support for carers to support people to die at home rather than in a hospital or a residential facility. This is done with an additional 39,000 palliative care services which would be overall cost-neutral.


What does a good death look like?

Recently, there have been some findings on what a good death looks like. Here is what some experts say, taken in turn from Smith, R. (2000) ‘A good death’, British Medical Journal, 320 (15 January).

  • To know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
  • To be able to retain control of what happens
  • To be afforded dignity and privacy
  • To have control over pain relief and other symptom control
  • To have choice and control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
  • To have access to information and expertise of whatever kind is necessary
  • To have access to any spiritual or emotional support required
  • To have access to hospice care in any location including home, not only in the hospital
  • To have control over who is present and who shares the end
  • To be able to issue advance directives that ensure wishes are respected
  • To have time to say goodbye and control over other aspects of timing
  • To be able to leave when it is time to go, and not to have life prolonged pointlessly

This fairly summarises what our clients tell us. Let’s hope this report gains some traction.

If you wish to read the full report, you can find it here.

If you or someone you know wishes to do an advanced care plan, call us on 1800 500 780.

Until next time

Margaret Harrison

Leave a Reply