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Dying to Know – the most important conversation you never had

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By Carol Saffer

Kathy Whye’s husband was in palliative care when she asked how he wanted the last part of his life to be.
She had come across Advance Care Planning, a government-funded program, while he was undergoing treatment in hospital.

Kathy said it prompted her to start a conversation with her husband.

“By talking and filling in the plan as you go, it allows you to discuss ideas,” Ms Whye said.

“Often a carer will think they are doing the right thing for the patient whereas the patient has different ideas and talking about it clarifies what they want.

“He was worried about how we would die; would he be grasping for death and in pain.

“He told me he didn’t want to be on life support, and he wanted to be at home,” she said.

The government-funded program helps a person maintain control of future medical treatment.

It prepares for a time when a person may not be able to communicate health care decisions.

And it encourages talking about one’s values and preferences at the end of life, long before it happens.
Ms Whye said, “people prepare for pregnancy; they go to classes.”

“You prepare for job interviews, so why not prepare for the most important time of your life.”

Kathy Whye and Peter Randall, a local social worker, will discuss the Advanced Care Plan on Dying to Know Day at an afternoon tea hosted by Moorabool Shire Council at the Ballan Library.

Peter Randall said, “the event is an opportunity to discuss a topic often avoided – death.”

“We will discuss an Advance Care Plan, and the benefits of having one and how to write one,” he said.

“We will talk about your values and preferences at the end of your life, long before it happens.

“And how to communicate your wishes with your family; sometimes a hard conversation to start.”

The Dying to Know Day event is on Monday, 8 August, at the Ballan Library at 143 Inglis Street, Ballan, from 3.30pm to 4.45pm. Ballan CWA will provide afternoon tea.

Register for the free event at www.eventbrite.com.au/e/dying-to-know-day-the-most-important-conversation-youve-never-had-tickets-367308418367
For further information, contact Kristie Seketa on 53667100 or email info@moorabool.vic.gov.au