Difficult Conversations

When you are ill, there are many difficult decisions to be made. There will also be difficult situations to deal with. It can be hard to talk about certain things. These will be different for each person. It could be about your feelings and emotions. It may be about your finances or care directions. It may be that you are worried about your family and friends.

Sometimes you will make choices that others may not agree with. This can be difficult to talk about. An example could be in making end-of-life decisions. It could be about arranging your will or funeral.

It may be easier to avoid talking about death and dying or things that are worrying you. You may worry that certain issues will be too upsetting and you won’t raise them. Sometimes it can be a relief when someone does talk about these things. Perhaps you will need to be the one who initiates these conversations.

Ask your palliative care team to help direct you to the information or support that you need.



  • From Cancer Australia, a resource developed to help people with metastatic (secondary) cancer talk about how palliative care might help them to live as well as possible when cancer has spread ‘Finding the Words’
  • The National Hospice Foundation has produced a booklet for consumers called Communicating end-of-life wishes (2.28MB pdf) that has some helpful ideas on how to start conversations.


  • The Dying Matters website has a video called A party For Kath
  • The UK website healthtalk has a section on Living with dying with interviews with people who are dying, talking about their different feelings and experiences.

Last updated 22 August 2018