Preparing for the End

There are things that can be put in place as you move towards the end of your life. You may have a limited understanding of what 'the end' means. Knowing what to expect can help take some of the fear and anxiety away. Being prepared can help you to feel more in control.

You can make decisions about how you want to be cared for. You may have already written this in an Advance Care Directive or Advance Care Plan. You may write it down or you may have discussed your wishes with your carer or family.

Where possible, play a part in making decisions about your care, treatments, or medications. Ask questions such as: are treatments and medications still helping? Is it time to stop some treatments that are no longer adding to comfort? Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is happening.

You may prefer to take charge of your situation and start these conversations. It is alright to say yes to some options that are offered and no to others. It may be easier to write down things about the decisions that are to be made.

You may want your carer or family involved in making decisions. They may help with ensuring your Advance Care Directive is carried out. They may help you talk to health professionals. You may also want them to tell your family and friends what is happening.

As people approach the end of their life many things change and new issues arise. There may be a new symptom or an existing one may get worse. They may also be less able to do the things that they did before. Knowing what to expect can help planning for care as death approaches.

  • Requirements for Advance Care directives are different in each state and territory of Australia. From the Advance Care Planning Australia website Advance care planning guide. Select the State or Territory of interest.
  • From the My Aged Care website Planning for end of life
  • The brochure from Palliative Care Australia Asking questions can help is a guide to some of the things that could be discussed with palliative care providers
  • The Ottawa Personal Decision Guide from the Ottowa Health Research Institute is one tool that may help you work out what decisions need to be made
  • The 'Handbook for Mortals' by Joanne Lynn looks at issues of spirituality, religion and relationships. This information may provide helpful insight, and perhaps food for thought.
Last updated 07 December 2018