Advance care planning

My contribution to National Palliative Care Week.

My contribution to Palliative Care Week

I was thrilled last night to be able to deliver an important talk, during Australia’s National Palliative Care Week, asking why we allow pain management at death to be so badly handled in our culture. The coincidence that I delivered my talk during this week was important to me. Eighty-five … Read more

Free legal advice to pensioners from the Trustee and Guardian.

Trustee and Guardian's Office gives free legal advice to pensioners.

Free legal advice for pensioners is given by the NSW Trustee And Guardian. NSW Trustee and Guardian is a state government agency that provides a full range of Wills and Estate Planning services for the community.   The preparation of Estate Planning documents such as Will, Power of attorney and Enduring … Read more

Families can be broken by misunderstandings when someone dies.

Families can be broken by misunderstandings when someone dies

After three decades working at Wollongong City Council’s memorial gardens and cemeteries, Operations Manager John Chilby has told the Illawarra Mercury he’s lost count of the times he’s seen families broken by misunderstandings when someone dies. “It causes more grief and break-ups between families, so we want to try and … Read more

National Advance Care Planning Week, March 22-26.

From an Advance Care Planning Australia video

As the organisers say, it’s “a time to talk about what matters most”. “National Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia that encourages all Australians, regardless of their age or health status, to make their future health care preferences known,” they explain on their … Read more

HelloCare discusses ‘One happy year’.

HelloCare discusses 'One-Happy-Year' in an interview with Colleen Cartwright.

Of the many articles I read last year, this one really lingered. It’s an interview with the always provocative, always fiercely practical Colleen Cartwright. Journalist Caroline Egan published it in HelloCare in November last year. Colleen is a specialist in aged care, advance care planning and the rights of the … Read more

Is the place I want to be cared for the place where I want to die?

Dr Katrin Gerber

The work of Dr Katrin Gerber has caught our eye. This is because whenever the question comes up about where someone wants to die, it can be hard to gauge accurately, and Katrin has studied it intensely. As a kindly volunteer, sitting with palliative care patients, I remember being struck … Read more

Advance care planning and dementia patients.

The ELDAC Legal toolkit

A patient who doesn’t have legal capacity because of dementia, even the early signs of it, can’t sign documents such as wills and the assigning of their power of attorney. But what about their advance care document? Because of the rigidity of the first two, and the fact that advance … Read more

Professor Joe and ‘the inappropriate question’.

Prof Joe deals with the inappropriate question.

We love this one. Prof Joe is so clear and gentle…and he knows how to tell a good story. For more from Prof Joe, including a range of brilliant resources, go to: For more good communication on advance planning, go to:

When ventilation goes too far.

A still from by Brad Racino's video in Deciding When a Life is No Longer Worth Living

Ventilators keeping more than 8000 patients alive, in nursing homes: it doesn’t seem plausible. But it’s true. In the US today approximately 8200 ventilators are being used in nursing homes, triggering a debate about whether these should be turned over to covid-19 patients, in the event of the country’s ventilator … Read more

Death doulas are becoming increasingly popular in Australia – so what exactly do they do?

Interest in death doulas grows

Death doulas are becoming increasingly popular in Australia – so what exactly do they do? Because theirs is only an emerging field, roles and what we can expect from people who define themselves as ‘death doulas’ can vary. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that more and more people … Read more

Eleven steps to prepare for a good death – in Covid-19 times.

A cup - for tea, or any other cuppa, to offer solace and comfort when someone has died. A vessel, that can be filled and renewed. One with a break and a chip near the handle. We are broken, imperfect, but we can still serve our purpose.

11 steps to a good death – during Covid-19, these strange times. Strange is the right word for now. It is non-judgmental. It says this Covid-19 crisis is different, unfamiliar, something new to be navigated. The following list is adapted from the steps outlined in A Good Death: a compassionate … Read more

Let’s avoid collateral damage.

Patients who need resuscitation are being managed very differently because of Covid-19, something that is causing concern for emergency medicine specialists. They fear that resuscitation efforts won’t meet the standard we are used to in emergency departments, so non-Covid-19 patients will become ‘collateral damage’. “I understand that we need to protect … Read more

A Good Death testimonial

Sydney reader Sue Reid has written a testimonial of A Good Death, available through Murdoch Books. This book has been of great use to my family as we reorganised mum (aged 90 years) and dad’s (aged 91 years) affairs over the past year. Their will was over 10 years old … Read more

Four planning steps – sounds complicated but they’re not.

Join us at North Sydney Rotary on March 5

We had a great discussion about the things you need to do to be well- organised in the event of your demise, at the North Sydney Rotary lunchtime meeting, from 1pm March 5, 2020. The organisers said we had a ‘full house’ with every member attending. The following list might … Read more

Helen explains why ‘Good Grief’ is good for ‘The Hub’.

"Planning for a good death is really part of living a healthy, active old age," says Helen L'Orange of The Waverton Hub

“Planning for a good death is really part of living a healthy, active old age,” says Helen L’Orange.