Australians avoid planning for death

Article published 5 May 2021

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MORE than 60 per cent of deaths in Australia are predictable but less than 15 per cent of Australians have care plans for the last stage of life.

A 2014 research report published by the Grattan Institute found that most people would prefer to die comfortably at home, surrounded by friends, family, and the care services they require. However, if proper discussion and planning is not carried out then the sufficient health services and arrangements may not be possible to fulfil someone’s last wishes.

The Violet Initiative is a social enterprise that aims to encourage Australians to be better prepared for death. The Initiative estimates that more than half of the predictable deaths in Australia have regretful outcomes because either things did not go to plan, or there was no plan.

Your death will of course have an impact on the people in your life. Ensuring your end-of-life plans are in order may make life easier for the people you leave behind.

A 2017 study claimed that 20 per cent of Australians are unable to move on after an important person in their life dies. Perhaps having effective end-of-life plans in place may minimize the risk of prolonged grief experienced by those closest to you. The peace of mind that your life ended in the way you planned may be helpful for those closest to you.

The best way to ensure you have some control over your final moments is to be prepared and plan ahead.

In terms of care plans, an advance care directive will allow you to outline your preferences for future care based on your beliefs, values and goals. An advance care directive will allow you to appoint a substitute decision-maker who can make decisions for you based on your wants if you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.

For more information and free advice regarding advance care directives, contact Advance Care Planning Australia on 1300 208 582.

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