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Start the conversation

Talking about dying is hard. The better prepared you are for your death, the easier it will be on your loved ones. It’s important to talk about death and about the care you want so you can prepare well. Talking about these things helps relieve the decision-making burden on those closest to you.

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It’s important to start talking early about what matters to you to maintain as much control as possible over your end-of-life care choices. Some of us will find discussing palliative care easier than others. There are many factors at play ─ your mindset, values, beliefs, culture, health, family relationships and so on. It’s important to remember there's no right or wrong way to talk to your loved ones and conversations like this are likely to happen over time. The Department of Health website has useful resources that may help. Visit www.health.gov.au/palliativecare.

Talking about end-of-life care is different for everyone. Some people may find it overwhelming and confronting. Others will be more accepting.

It is important to let your loved ones know what your wishes are if you are living with a life-limiting illness. The first step is to think about what you want for your end-of-life care.

Once you know what you want, you can talk to those around you.

Sometimes, the hardest part about difficult conversations can be knowing where to start. Below are some ideas to help get you started.

  • “I know it might be hard to talk about, but it’s really important to me.”
  • “We’ve talked a bit about what happens after I pass away, but we haven’t spoken about my end-of-life care.”
  • “I’ve been speaking to my doctor, and they have asked me to think about a few things…”

For more advice on how to start the conversation, look at our conversation guide: What Matters to Me.

What to do next

It is a good idea to end the conversation with some ideas about what to do next. You could also start to formalise your wishes in the form of an advance care plan.

 

Last updated: 
18 April 2019
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