Give some thought to palliative care

Date: May 21, 2013

A survey of people who have lost a loved one was recently commissioned by Palliative Care Australia and uncovered some interesting information about our country's attitudes towards end-of-life issues.

Of the people who responded to the survey, a staggering one in two had not shared their end-of-life-care decisions with any of their loved ones.

The survey also revealed that only 15 per cent of Australians had given any thought to their final days and weeks.

Just 56 per cent of those surveyed said they were confident that the final wishes of their deceased loved one had actually been carried out, and 30 per cent revealed their loved one had not been treated in a place of their choosing.

"Unfortunately the survey reveals Australians simply aren’t having conversations about death and dying and are therefore flying blind when it comes to understanding the end of life wishes of their loved ones," said Palliative Care Australia's chief executive officer Dr Yvonne Luxford in a May 20 statement.

"Discussions about the type of care we want, and where we want to be cared for are important for every single one of us. The fact is palliative care is everyone’s business," she said.

And that's why the theme of this year's National Palliative Care Week is "Palliative Care … Everyone's Business".

Running from May 19 to 25, National Palliative Care Week is an annual event organised by Palliative Care Australia to raise awareness about palliative care and the end-of-life issues that surround it.

The theme is based on the fact that everyone will be involved with palliative care in some shape or form at some point in their life; it is therefore important that we use the present to prepare for the future health needs of ourselves and our loved ones.

"Advanced care planning is vitally important to palliative care services," said minister for ageing Mark Butler.

One way the government is trying to make sure more Australians' end-of-life care wishes are granted is by getting Advance Care Directives included in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health (eHealth) Record.

Advance Care Directives are documents that clarify what medical care you want in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to make those decisions.

This would mean that your end-of-life decisions are easily and electronically accessible to those who can grant them when the time comes.

Another way you can make sure your end-of-life wishes are granted is by preparing a will.

Craddock Murray Neumann can help you with all your estate planning needs. We can offer you expert advice and will do our best to make sure that there is no need for your relatives or close friends to dispute a will you have executed after you're gone.