Dying well – on your terms

Dying well is a report on the wishes of how, where and with whom we want to die.

Dying well – on your terms

The difference between dying in a hospital and being able to die in your own home surrounded by friends and family could be a matter of ‘speaking up’. A recent report compiled by the Grattan Institute, Dying well, found that around 70 per cent of Australians would prefer to die at home, yet only 14 per cent currently do. That’s less than half of people who choose to – and do – die at home in New Zealand, France, USA and Korea, as well as several other countries.

Australian policies and medical attitudes are partly to blame, as too is the current lack of support for suitable advanced home care programs. However, Dying well points out that many people who are dying don’t speak up about how they want to die and, therefore, don’t live out the last of their days as they would prefer.

In the last 100 years, the average lifespan has increased by 30 per cent, with about two-thirds of Australians dying between the ages of 75 and 95. Nowadays, the issue of dying is generally more predictable. Doctors are usually accurate to within one month in estimating when a particular person is likely to die.

People want to be able to choose and control the place in which health care is provided during their last days. Often people don’t die at home because there is insufficient support services or because they haven’t articulated their preferred choices through detailed discussion and prior planning with family and clinicians.

It seems too, that enabling twice the amount of the current rate of home deaths could be effectively cost-neutral, because an increase in home-care services would reduce the demand on the hospital system.

Australians are lucky to have a good public health-care system, but it is becoming increasingly clear that we do not provide adequate support for home and palliative care. Dying well raises awareness of the need for the types of end-of-life services that Australians really want.

People want to die with dignity. End-of-life care has to change in order to improve the quality of dying and to meet the wishes of how Australians want to die.

If you’re interested, you can view the report.

Or you can read the press release.

Opinion: Difficult but necessary

According to the report, Dying well, failure to talk about and plan for death is one of the main obstacles to improving the quality of dying. Having to talk about death is not an easy thing – it’s no secret that it is one of the most difficult things in life with which to deal. Starting the ‘dying’ dialogue sooner than later, is paramount for those wishing to die in a comfortable environment surrounded by those they love, instead of with someone in a white coat and scrubs.

I had a health scare recently and had to face the possibility that I could have died. It’s even difficult to say ‘there was a chance I could die’ in this article, because death scares me so much. I mean it really scares me. I know I am not alone.

What started out as harmless banter, turned into a conversation with my partner about how I’d like to die. It started with a joke about something to do with a Viking funeral, but it eventually got serious. We discussed things such as resuscitation, life-support and funerals. We even talked funeral songs. We talked about who we wanted around us and who we did not. By the end of the night we had a decent understanding of what each of us wanted in our time of dying. It was a weird discussion. It was also strangely liberating.

I understand that my thoughts and ideas about my ‘end of days’ may change over time, but if something happened to either of us tomorrow, I feel like I could act with some authority on how to handle this phase. I suppose what I’m saying is, maybe talking and planning for death shouldn’t have to be so scary.

Talking about dying is no easy task. It’s usually quite difficult for the person facing his or her imminent demise to talk about it with anyone. It can be just as difficult for the family and friends of the dying to accept the fact that someone they love will die.

My girlfriend’s mother, who is in her 70s now, has tried many times to talk to us about what to do on the occasion of her dying. The conversation usually starts with her telling her children to put sticky dots on all the things they would like handed down to them after she dies. When the subject comes up, the children all say that the last thing they want to think about is her dying. They say they’ll deal with it when the time comes. They don’t want to think about it. She is the brave one in bringing the subject up. After reading this report, I understand now, that dealing with it later will be too late – and it’s unfair on her for us to ignore her wish to talk about dying. It is important to her and needs to be discussed so that she can rest easy knowing that all will be go according to her wishes.

Death is a tough subject and we all have our preferences and opinions on how we want to die. It may sound cliché, but death is something we all have in common. Contrary to our predominately ‘western ways’, it should be something we can talk about.

Have you had this type of discussion with your family or doctor? Have you had experience with home care? How do you feel about talking about death? What are your thoughts?





    COMMENTS

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    unicorn
    6th Oct 2014
    10:41am
    I wouldn't want to put my kids through what my ister in law put hers trough when she chose to die at home. She had cancer and was often seeing her kids and the worst thing was when we were called to the house by her husband who was administering the morphia to her under guidance from the two nurses who were left in sharge.The eldest was asked by his Mother to say a prayer, which he did, a cousin stood by the bed saying don't go, why do you want to die like this? Something we could have done without, the whole episode was traumatic for everybody in attendance & somethin we all could have done without! First, lessons should be given by anyone who intends to attend plus an exam people who cannot act properly should not be allowed in.
    rtrish
    6th Oct 2014
    10:53am
    Unicorn, I am so sorry your family had to go through that difficult time. It could be exactly what everyone wants, or traumatic, as you say. I think it has to be a joint decision, both by the person whose life is coming to an end and those who will be caring for them. Definitely I think that there should be more in-home palliative care available, plus good quality hospice care - preferably with a choice of hospice run by religious and non-religious providers. And yes, please have a think about what your choices might be, preferably even before you become ill, and communicate that to your nearest and dearest if possible. As well, put it in writing. One of my children is OK with talking about these things, and the other not so much. But I have given both of them some written indications of my wishes, so if the occasion arises, there will be something written for them. Plus I have made my will, completed Enduring Power of Attorney etc., given some suggestions about what I would like for my funeral.
    Dancer
    6th Oct 2014
    11:57am
    If it is difficult to talk about, you can always prepare a small folder containing details of your wishes on how and where you want to die, what kind of funeral you want, the songs, readings etc. This folder can also contain Advanced Directives. Give copies to family members and keep one in a safe place at home. Revisit it from time to time and make any changes desired or needed... simple. And in handing it to family, it also opens up the opportunity to talk about the contents.
    rtrish
    7th Oct 2014
    3:48pm
    Ditto to Advance Directives. Make it legal so that hospitals will be aware of your wishes.
    oldgreenguy
    6th Oct 2014
    12:22pm
    Why does dying scare you? It is an inevitable result of being born. If you have lived your life according to your moral code it should offer no fears.
    However, the manner of dying can be very worrying and provisions such as "Do not revive" and consideration of voluntary euthanasia should be allowed. My mother took 18 months to die of cancer and I am sure it was my father's worst fear that he could go that same way. Fortunately, he had a stroke and died very quickly. So to be able to die with dignity, in your own home would be a final blessing from life!
    Blossom
    6th Oct 2014
    12:39pm
    Yes, I agree but make sure you have a legal document stating this so that nobody can go against your wishes. Give your GP a copy and if you visit a hospital occasionally because of an illness, take a copy and request that they keep it in your file. It would also be advisable to carry one in your handbag/wallet.
    Pass the Ductape
    7th Oct 2014
    10:34am
    Why does dying scare me? Probably because it's so final.
    student
    7th Oct 2014
    4:22pm
    My Mopther always said she did not want to be revived.OK. When I walked into her hospital room and she was having a heart attack and being hooked up to all sorts of machines, I told the Dr of her wishes. After he had stabalised Mother he took me aside and asked what kind of recussitation did she not want?? We spoke about dying for a while and then he told me he had stabalised her not bought her back to life. The same as euthanasia, recussitation has many paths, and is not black or white.

    I have willed my brain to MS research and I want them (the medical people) to use as many organs as possible to help others. My GP and my children have written confirmation of my wishes, plus I have told them verbally (during a family medical appointment)so they can do no more 'til I die.

    Duct, I don't think I am afraid of dying. I have sorted out what happens and why. I just feel so very sad at times that I will not be here to cause mayhem and madness with my two g'children. I could teach them so much :)
    Blossom
    6th Oct 2014
    12:32pm
    Some medications that keep patients comfortable cannot be administered at home, not even by a qualified palliative care nurse who comes to your home. They have to be in either a aged care facility or a hospital. I personally know a lady who used to do voluntary palliative care in peoples' homes. She was fully qualified but she had to have patients transferred to hospital to ease their horrific pain and suffering. The staff can gradually increase the dose as necessary......If a patient starts fidgeting about while asleep it means they are in pain, even if they are unconscious.
    Lori
    7th Oct 2014
    12:44am
    You're not up to date......subcutaneous sedation and pain relief was given to my husband as he lay surrounded by his family and he peacefully passed away with his loved ones quietly supporting him. Palliative care nurse comes to house to set up computerised sedation pump.
    Misty
    6th Oct 2014
    12:46pm
    I lost my 79 year old husband 2 weeks ago after he had a stroke so we were not really prepared for his passing as initially his rehab prospects were good but he took a turn for the worst and we were all able to spend the last 20 hours in the hospital room with him. The staff were marvellous and he had a continuous morphine dose being administered to make him comfortable. We had to make a decision wether to allow resuscitation but my husband had always said that he didn't want to live as a vegetable so the decision was not hard to make as he had Emphysema as well so he would not have had any quality of life if he survived. I think for us him dying in the hospital was what it was meant to be so we don't have any regrets but maybe if he had been able to come home we would have done it that way too. Everyone copes with death and grief in different ways, their own way, and until you are actually confronted with this you don't know how you will cope so I think we all have to be understanding, even if other people don't react the way we would like them too as they are suffering too in their own way.
    HOLA
    11th Oct 2014
    11:39am
    So sorry MISTY on reading of your husband's passing. I lost my husband 5 years ago, although it seems like yesterday. He had cancer and was being treated in Palliative care but wanted to come home, he did so, for 1 week and I had such a difficult time trying to come, the Home Care nurse visited occasionally but it was up to me to administer the Morphine and I was not comfortable with that. I kept ringing the hospital saying he was in constant pain and they would say "Increase the medication by 5 mls. In the end I asked for him to return to Palliative Care where he died 1 week later. I would much prefer to die in hospital instead of at home, it
    is all too much for the family, and I was told, if you die at home, the police have to be called in and a doctor has to sign the death certificate. Don't want to have the ambulance calling at home for all the neighbours to look at.
    Mar
    6th Oct 2014
    3:07pm
    My husband absolutely wanted to be at home and with the help of family we did our best until the last 4 weeks when there was no choice because of the pain level and the constant management of pain relief. At 72 he found it difficult to accept it was his time, or talk about it. This was difficult for the family. The staff were marvelous and I was able to live in and work with them. I think it is very important to talk about your wishes and share with each other before it becomes too difficult due to the illness and drugs. I think it is very individual and for us a combination of home and hospital care worked best. It's a pity that in our society it is still taboo for many people to discuss and plan,although pre paid funerals can allow that for some people. Death is so inevitable and it it is so much easier to cope with when you know your loved ones wishes and feel you were able to fulfill them.
    HOLA
    12th Oct 2014
    7:12am
    It is a difficult time for all. My sister and husband wont even talk about it. They still haven't even made out their wills although they are in their late sixties. I had always been afraid of death until I did a Carers course 16 years ago. All my clients were the nicest people as they faced the inevitable. I sat with dying people and I can assure you it was a privilege to have been in their company.
    Mar
    6th Oct 2014
    3:20pm
    Dancer, I think that's a brilliant idea for many families.
    unicorn
    6th Oct 2014
    4:10pm
    I have made all important arrangements made, that is important as far as I am concerned like music, style of service, money to pay for it etc., etc., and that is as much as I want as to where U snuff it I will take the chance on it being a hospital, not a home or a hospice as i have said many times I do not wish to ever grow feeble enough to need such as I would take something legal or otherwise to pass through this life.If I have to pay for it I shall. My Mother died while visiting at my place we had to rush her to hospital where she didn't last more than an hour which is as she had wanted it to happen always saying that she didn't want to go into any nursing ho,e.
    doclisa
    6th Oct 2014
    4:55pm
    we dont talk about it enough. we refuse to understand that death is a part of life. we all die.
    we just dont need all the pain and with contemporary medicine and science we dont need to be in pain. We could also have voluntry exit plans so we can choose our deaths, not just a last minute pain. people need to expect to die. current plan is to head to a wonderful resort in mexico and get some of that nebital and go out fabulously!
    we should all be supporting Phillip Nietche as the medical establishment and politics attempt to discredit him
    Foxy
    6th Oct 2014
    5:23pm
    Hi Guys ..... there was an amazing movie in the late 1960's/early 70's called "Soylent Green" - Charlton Heston was the "main man" - it was based in the year 2000+ - when there were Euthanasia Clinics - where people could go and see their "favourite" things - animals that had long been exterminated etc./hear the music they loved throughout their life and had their last meal (of choice) with whatever wine they chose...prior to dying ..(this was for the "rich" people) - when their bodies were "disposed" of - a huge manufacturing plant made their bodies into dry packaged biscuits called "Soylent Green" which were distributed amongst the poor whom were still "living" and had no food ....! This amazing movie still haunts me today as you can see this happening - I do not know who wrote the movie - but - guess I could "Google" it - it was so far advanced for it's time - it was amazing! :-)
    Foxy
    6th Oct 2014
    5:24pm
    P.S. Did anyone else see/remember this movie?
    Misty
    6th Oct 2014
    8:19pm
    Yes and I sincerely hope that society never resorts to this either now or in the future, the very thought makes me shudder.
    Pass the Ductape
    7th Oct 2014
    11:01am
    Yeah - Charlton Heston - the man most responsible for helping to retain main-stream gun madness in America. Pity he didn't end up in the 'biscuit mix".
    Con
    6th Oct 2014
    9:27pm
    Thanks for a great and challenging article Leon. You write so well and with such research skills that the issue is clear and well thought through.
    I really appreciated the opportunity as a woman in her 70s myself to mull over the points you raise. Thank you.
    Jennie
    6th Oct 2014
    9:49pm
    My father-in-law insisted on dying at home. He had an rare degenerative lung condition. My mother-in-law went through hell over it as she had inadequate support and my father-in-law was too stubborn to agree to it anyway. A dying person can become demanding, frightened and selfish requiring both medical, emotional, and perhaps spiritual support. Not all families can cope with such a situation. Modern medicine hasn't prolonged life but prolonged the dying process due to too many invasive interventions. It is of vital importance for everyone over the age of 50 to have an Advanced Care Directive and an advocate (family member or friend that you trust not to argue over your wishes), unless you want a painful and drawn-out death. We all like to think that we will die peacefully in our sleep with little prior suffering, but this is rarely the case these days.
    Talking about ones own death is easy, even funny sometimes, but getting others to listen is another matter...
    Anonymous
    7th Oct 2014
    2:04am
    Hi Jennie
    Thank you for sharing that snippet. ANd excellent advice!!!!
    chertl
    6th Oct 2014
    11:03pm
    Looking after my mum gave me an insight into what is involved in their care. I have no intention of having my sons, daughter or granddaughters have to change my nappies or wipe my bottom. Mum was so upset every time but I couldn't assure her enough it was part of my love for her so not to worry. I will be either in hospital or go in my sleep so this doesn't have to happen. If my children are there all good but if not I will go on my own. Some don't bother with me now so I will just have to put up with them not being there for me.
    Anonymous
    7th Oct 2014
    2:09am
    Cherti - you brought a tear to my eye, with your story about your mum. You obviously loved her deeply. How wonderful that you were ae to see he through her last difficult days.
    If there is a god, you will be with your mum one day, if not , no matter, you and your mum were blessed
    Pardelope
    7th Oct 2014
    5:52pm
    Cherti, you brought back memories of my mother. When I had to clean her, she was most embarrassed, but I told her that she did it heaps of times for me when I was a baby, and I was happy to do it now for her. Years later, my late husband was the same, but I reassured him that I had done it for my mother out of love, and I felt the same about doing it for him. I can handle most bodily fluids, wounds etc, but I must admit that the sound and smell of vomiting is really hard.
    HOLA
    11th Oct 2014
    11:46am
    Did anyone see the movie,"TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE", with Jack Lemmon. What a wonderful story, a true story, One of the things that stuck in my mind is when a young ex-pupil of his asks,"What is the worst thing about dying, and Jack says,"When some-one has to wipe my arse". How true is that?
    Young Simmo
    7th Oct 2014
    3:56am
    This is an interesting subject for us oldies.
    My Father died on his 43rd Birthday in 1953, and now at 74 (31 years past my Dad), I am cruising along enjoying life. Having said that, when it is my turn to go, I would like it to be a nice easy transition.
    My plan goes like this. I am currently on a prescription of 30 Mg Oxy- contin (Opioiod) 3 times a day. I have a healthy stock hidden away for that special day. The problem is, I have been into a dozen Suicide Websites asking how much in one hit to go nicely. They are all too scared to tell me. Anybody else in here had the same lack of response to a reasonable question like that?
    Also interesting is the fact that My Dad died in 1953 the year of the first Open Heart Triple Bypass Surgery in the USA. It was performed on a 13 year old girl, and because nobody had invented a Heart-Lung machine at that stage, they had her Father on a bed beside her and hooked up so his body kept both of their Lungs and Circulation going. Also it was a success.
    Anonymous
    7th Oct 2014
    4:41am
    Mate - I wish you a long and happy life.
    And if you ever need a heart transplant, may it come form a muslim donor !!!!
    Jennie
    7th Oct 2014
    9:55am
    Exit International is the website for Philip Nitschke. You must be aged over 50 and of sound mind to join this organisation, which is quite legal. There is a much better way to self deliver than any drugs. Do not try oxycontin. There is always the high risk that you will vomit it up and end up brain damaged in intensive care with ANY drug overdose, legal or illegal.
    student
    7th Oct 2014
    4:01pm
    the last sentence in your post was uncalled for and offensive, Solomon.

    Simmo,I have read your posts over the years and know of your trouble getting pain relief but like Jennie says, the result may be worse than your life at the moment. I hope you never need/want to use your stash and you will just drift off naturally into the great Round-Up in the sky:)
    Young Simmo
    7th Oct 2014
    5:01pm
    Yes student that is my wish, but if things turn ugly I would like to have a second choice. All I want is to get somebody to tell me to Double, Triple or Quadruple my dose. Trouble is it is starting to look like I might have to fork out $100 or so to Exit International to get an answer.
    Oh well life wasn't meant to be easy, at least that is what I was told.
    Pardelope
    7th Oct 2014
    6:19pm
    Young Simmo - my husband (who had a terminal disease MSA - similar to Motor Neurone Disease) had a private talk with Dr Nitschke (from Exit International) and attended some of his workshops. He found the information he received was very practical and down-to-earth. Advice was given about palliative care options and limitations, suicide and the law, avoiding problems for relatives (different in different states), autopsies, what doctors can and cannot do, what ambulance and other staff are required to do, the pros and cons of different methods, and the progress toward changing the law to allow people to choose voluntary euthanasia. There was no pressure or encouragement to commit suicide - just information to allow people to make reasonable and safe choices. In the end, my husband was much more relaxed about his death (money well spent) - and did not commit suicide.

    It was pointed out that people who are used to having high doses of certain medications may end up worse off because their body is resistant. Combinations of other drugs, the use-by date, food or alcohol also can make a difference. There is no "magic" dose as each person is different.
    Jennie
    7th Oct 2014
    10:55pm
    Thank you Pardelope. Joining Exit is money well spent. Once you join you will be able to attend local Chapter meetings held three or four times a year. There you would find expert advice, information and support, plus smaller support groups. But as Pardelope says, NO pressure or encouragement to suicide. Self deliverance ALWAYS remains a choice.
    You might also wish to buy the book written by Chris Docker available from Amazon.com. This comes from the UK Exit (not affiliated in any way to Exit International) The book is expensive, but it is deliberately priced in order to discourage young people from buying it. From this book you will learn safe methods and how dangerous many "suicide" drugs are as well as how very likely you are to get into trouble from attempting to buy illegal drugs on the internet.
    unicorn
    7th Oct 2014
    8:34am
    Young Simmo have you ever looked for a web site run by Phillip Nietshe * e may be able to answer your questiom but beside that it may please you to know that you probably have enouh oxy contine to inish yourself quicker than you imagined as they blame oxy for many overdose cases in the USA.
    unicorn
    7th Oct 2014
    10:42am
    I was talking of deaTHS BY OVERDOSE NOT DAMAGE. YOUR EMINENCE
    Pass the Ductape
    7th Oct 2014
    10:58am
    Unfortunately your death is the very last thing you will ever accomplish. Once we begin to realise that we are getting very close to the end of our lives I suppose we think much more about it. I've come to the conclusion that I think I'm ready for the inevitable and I've done this by looking back over what I've accomplished throughout my existence - some things I can be proud of - whilst others I'm not so proud. I put it all down to life's adventure and in that context I'm probably no different than anyone else. I'm accepting death as my last adventure; one which I hope is going to be painless, but then that's all part of the adventure I suppose.

    The one thing I really wish to know though, is, who calls who, and when, after someone dies naturally. Would it be the police - your doctor - an undertaker? Can some one clue me in - preferably before it's too darn late?
    Misty
    7th Oct 2014
    11:04am
    Do you live on your own Ductape?, as this would make a difference, hopefully if you are on your own you would still have someone keeping an eye on your welfare, I think if it was me I would ring OOO and hopefully they would direct me to the right people to call if it wasn't them.
    Pardelope
    7th Oct 2014
    6:39pm
    Ductape, if you are alone or isolated, you can arrange for daily phone calls from an organization such as Red Cross or a local nursing service. If you do not respond, they will organize for someone to come and check on you and take any necessary action. If a person is under a doctor or palliative care service, they can be contacted and will advise what is necessary. The police can be called - especially if it is an unexpected or suspicious death. The ambulance service can also be called if there is any chance of the person still being alive (and they are required by law to attempt resucitation if this is a possibility). When my husband died at home at 1.15am, I phoned the palliative care on-duty nurse and she came to the home (she was the person who actually advised the GP and he issued the death certificate). I then phoned the funeral director's after hours number and advised them. They had been consulted previously to make arrangements for the funeral, so they came at 11am (which was a time which suited me). I contacted close relatives at about 8.30am.
    Pardelope
    7th Oct 2014
    6:49pm
    As I live alone (and neighbours are busy with their lives) I have an arrangement with my sister to phone each other at least once every day. We also phone each other if we are going to do things which might be risky e.g. clean the gutters, change a light bulb, get up into the ceiling. If contact cannot be made, we ring a neighbour and ask them to check. If the neighbour can't be contacted, we hop in the car to visit. My sister and I have discussed our wishes about resucitation, tube feeding etc etc and know what to do if necessary. It is a very good idea to have a plan in place - especially if you live alone.
    HOLA
    11th Oct 2014
    1:04pm
    When a friend of mine died of AIDS, it was at home, and the first person called in was the police,then doctor to write death certificate. The Undertaker was then called and the last thing I remember was my poor friend being carried out in a Body Bag., much to the pain of his parents, the neighbours were out the front wanting to know what had happened. I just wish the parents had been spared this grief. It would have been much better if he had died in hospital.
    unicorn
    7th Oct 2014
    11:27am
    I guess it depens on the circumstances Ductape when my B-I-L- died unexpectedly aT HIS HOME THE POLICE WERE LEFT TO CONTACT MY HUSBAND AS HIS CLOSEST LIVING RELATIVE When my Mother died as the person with my Father attending the hospital it was left to me to ring my Sisters. When my father died my sister rang me as she was the living relative contactable from te Nursing home where he was. So I would say it depends on circumstances.
    Adrianus
    9th Oct 2014
    8:29am
    Leon, I too had a scare and faced the reality of possible death recently. No facts were given to me, just the melancholy looks as Doctors and nurses gazed at the floor as if in prayer.
    As many people have said, it is an experience.
    It occurred to me at the time of hearing the news from Doctors that my plans for the future may not be realised.
    I've had relatives die and I think these experiences have helped me to understand what becomes important in those final moments. I agree with your article 100%. Get your life sorted so that nothing is left unfinished when its time to go.
    Then when it is time to go the last (literally) thing I want to hear is those close to me saying that it is OK to go now. Let go and enjoy the experience.
    student
    9th Oct 2014
    6:13pm
    Frank, I too have faced my own death and have been present when my Mother and my husband died. When my Mother and my husband died, at the moment of death I felt a feeling I can only describe as pure happiness followed by the deepest sadness imaginable. When I faced my own death again I felt that joy and peace. I do believe we will know when our time is coming.

    However, I am still not ready just yet :)
    Adrianus
    10th Oct 2014
    8:46am
    student, I agree with the concept that death will always come too soon, but as we age the constant suffering can change ones mind. The feelings you describe, I can relate to. I am planning for a future without life now so that I can live. :)
    "je ne regrette rien."

    10th Oct 2014
    8:09am
    My father the first and only person I've witness die, died in a nursing home, and although he was in the main unconscious, with occasional brief moments of semi-consciousness during the last 9 days of his life, found it difficult and distressing to accept that no food or water was the best palliative treatment strategy over this time - but this is what happened.

    Seemed to be almost a matter of watching someone slowly die of thirst and starvation.....and was relieved when he finally passed away...
    Misty
    10th Oct 2014
    9:27am
    That was terrible Frank, surely there must be a better way, was he sedated at all or given opiates?.
    Young Simmo
    10th Oct 2014
    12:16pm
    Unlike most people I will be happy to go any time in the next 10 minutes to 10 years.
    I hear the question, WHY.
    Well my Father died on his 43rd birthday in 1953 and I assumed for years that I would be dead by 50. Then one day I thought to myself, Hey I am 70, YIPPEE-DO.
    Today at 31 years past my Father and although with my fair share of Arthritis etc, I am enjoying every minute.
    Adrianus
    10th Oct 2014
    2:34pm
    I think many people try to "live each day as if it is their last," but you, Young Simmo have done just that!! you're a legend. Good onya mate!!
    toot2000
    10th Oct 2014
    12:44pm
    I like the idea of dying at home but what about all the nasty work involved, if I'm bedridden, someone will have to take care of my toilet needs and there's a lot of work involved in a sponge bath. I can see that my loved ones wishing for me to drop off quickly so they could go back to their lives. just sayin...
    Adrianus
    10th Oct 2014
    3:39pm
    toot, I will not ask my family to look after me in that way. I would rather seek help from someone other than family even though they would do anything for me.
    toot2000
    10th Oct 2014
    3:43pm
    Yes Frank I agree, if I have a choice, I think I'll pass on dying at home.
    Jennie
    10th Oct 2014
    10:27pm
    What's interesting about the comments in this forum is that many of us, myself included, do not want to be cared for by loved ones or carers by choosing to die at home. It seems that the government pretends that all Australians want this option. Have you considered that this is because it is cheaper to stay at home than funding the burgeoning aged population to be cared for in an aged care facility or a hospice?? Certainly hospitals do not want their beds taken up by the dying aged. There will not be care 24/7 at home unless a family member does it and becomes stressed and exhausted with the task, especially if the death is prolonged by "well meaning" doctors and modern excessive medical interventions.

    The carers that come from an agency will never be there all day and all night - can you imagine the cost of one-on-one nursing? There is usually no-one there during the night. Guess when most aged people fall down and can't get up - in the night when trying to visit the toilet. Many of us have known an aged person who laid on the floor all night waiting for someone to come to the house and call an ambulance.

    It's important to think through all the issues involved surrounding care at home whether you are aged or young. Your choice can depend on how much money you have and if you can afford to pay for the extra care required. It is never wise to assume that the caring task will be willingly taken on by a loved one. Much open and honest communication is always required around the subject of dying. After all, we will all experience death whether we like it or not.

    There will be some people who will say, "but my loved one had wonderful care at home." This certainly can be true, but depends on what is wrong with you, if you are old or young, and how long it takes you to die. It won't be wonderful for everyone.
    toot2000
    11th Oct 2014
    12:20pm
    Well said Jennie


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