Fact 1: Less than 5% of people have a plan for their End of Life
Fact 2: 45% of us will die without a Will
Fact 3: Of those who know they are dying, only 25% will have spoken to their families about their wishes
- Who would be willing to speak on my behalf?
- Can this person separate their feelings from mine?
- Does this person understand me/my wishes?
- Can they manage the responsibility?
- Are they available?
- Can they manage conflict?
- Are they comfortable talking about dying, illness and death?
- How is their death literacy; in particular, their understanding of the health system?
The NSW Department of Health has developed the Planning Ahead Website.
This website has information and templates for:
|Will||A legal document outlining your financial wishes.|
|Advance Care Plan / Directive||A way to think about, communicate and document your wishes for your future healthcare.|
|Enduring Power of Attorney / Power of Attorney||A legal document appointing a person/trustee to manage your financial and legal affairs while you are alive. Enduring means it is still legal if you lose capacity.|
|Enduring Guardian||A person legally appointed by you (or the Civil and Administrative Tribunal) as the person responsible to consent or decline treatment for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. Not relevant to business, property or financial decisions.|
|Emotional Will||Focuses on legacy items and memories. |
|Authorised Adult Palliative Care Plan: Ambulance Service/GP||Palliative care patients and their families may choose to complete a NSW Ambulance Authorised Adult Palliative Care Plan in consultation with their GP. In the event of an emergency Triple Zero (000) call out by the patient, the plan authorises paramedics to deliver individually tailored treatment specified by the GP. This may include administration of medications and other actions to relieve and manage symptoms in the home.|
|Funeral Plans and pre-planning options||CHOICE has complied an excellent review of the options.|
Fact 4: 70% of deaths are expected
Most of us die of chronic and expect illnesses. We have time to plan!
Fact 5: Doctors Die Differently
- with less intervention, at home, and with less invasive intervention at end of life.
Read more here.
Fact 6: Early referral to palliative care means living longer with better quality of life
Dr. Temel and some of her coauthors were involved in a groundbreaking study of palliative care published 4 years ago (N Engl J Med. 2010;363;733-742). They found that if they brought in palliative care at cancer diagnosis it led to a significant improvement in survival in patients with metastatic nonsmall-cell lung cancer. The study was called 'paradigm-shifting' and 'precedent-setting' by experts in palliative medicine.
Some great articles on Palliative and end of life care:
- Why Australians don't die well - by Adele Horin
- Too many dying in pain - by Adele Horin
- Talking to Children about death - Kerrie Noonan
- Tackling the difference between where people want to die - Dr Debbie Horsfall and Kerrie Noonan
- Facing end of life - booklet from Cancer Council NSW
Fact 7: Almost half of us would like to know more about DIY funerals
In NSW you can be your own funeral director or you can hire a funeral director to do specific tasks such as body transportation or burial/cremation.
Here is some helpful information:
- NSW Dept of Health Disposal of the Deceased policies and forms
- Natural Death Centre in Byron Bay has information about how to build a coffin and facts sheets about funerals.
Fact 8: 60% of Australians choose cremation. Have you considered the alternatives?
Fact 9: We don’t grieve in stages, and only about 10% of us need professional support after a death
Video: The Truth about Grief
Fact 10: 60% think we don't talk about death enough
There is an international movement promoting and calling for greater awareness about end of life and planning for death, dying and bereavement. As someone who has attended the '10 Things' workshop, you have knowledge and information you can share in your workplace, community and family.
There are many things you can do to connect with this community of change makers.
Firstly Dying To Know Day is August 8th - founded by The GroundSwell Project and inspired by the book Dying to Know, the day encourages everyone to take action and help build death literacy in our communities. Get involved and run an event in your community. Join the mail list here.
Click HERE for our BIG list of death literacy builders. We held our first Death Literacy conference in 2014, so watch this space.
Purchase the Dying to know book HERE
TALKING ABOUT DEATH & CONVERSATION PROJECTS
These projects promote the importance of promoting conversations about death and dying as part of life:
- Death Cafe - watch our conversation with Jon Underwood chat on YouTube here. Use the Death Cafe website to find your local Death Cafe in Australia and around the world.
- Death over Dinner project
- Conversations for Life UK - a great project using community development and film.
- Engage with Grace - simple approach to a complex issue.
- Design for Death and My Gift of Grace game cards - love card games! This one has been thoughtfully planned, and co-designed with the people who will use them.
- Die-alogue Cafe Newcastle - lots of local resources and information and a model to encourage conversation.
- Central Coast End of Life Collective