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Kyabram leads end-of-life planning discussion

Kyabram District Health Service has started a program to enable people to express their end-of-life wishes.

January 22, 2014 4:54am

Tracey Stokes and Loretta Lilford believe Advance Care Planning can make possible future decisions for family members easier.


Kyabram is leading the discussion about end-of-life planning in Victoria.

A community program Kyabram District Health Service started provides people the means to express their end-of-life wishes through an advance care planning process.

All Victorian health services are expected to implement formal advance care planning processes.

They will be supported through the government release of Victoria’s Advance Care Planning Implementation Strategy that was still in development.

A Department of Health spokesperson said yesterday there was no date for the release.

KDHS clinician Loretta Lilford said already 35 Kyabram residents had completed an advance care plan directive.

‘‘An advance care plan is about what you would like in the event you are unable to speak for yourself,’’ Mrs Lilford said.

‘‘It sets out what’s important for you and for the people you love.

‘‘And it makes that really sad time for your family just that little bit easier because they will be secure in the knowledge that they are doing what you wanted.’’

Mrs Lilford said people were tongue-tied when it came to talking about death.

‘‘Indeed, we don’t know how to start, so the important conversations are not being had of what our wishes are if we are faced with a terminal illness,’’ she said.

‘‘An advanced care plan opens the conversation about dying.’’

Mrs Lilford said conversations could start initially around the kitchen table with the people you loved before there was a crisis.

Health, legal and end-of-life issues are covered in the legally binding document for all people aged over 18.

‘‘I don’t want people to think that this is only for old people, this document is for people of all ages,’’ Mrs Lilford said.

She said everyone wanted their loved ones’ final hours of life to be as pain-free and dignified as possible.

‘‘The advanced care plan is an important part of achieving this aim,’’ she said.

More stories, page 3

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