The best person to look after someone who is dying is someone who loves them

End of life care​

Patients and their carers told us that they worry about having a painful death.

I don’t want him to suffer. I’m not scared of him dying, I just don’t … I want this time to be less suffering, less painful.

Irene, carer of her dad with pancreatic cancer

Where to die

People may worry about where they will be when they die.

More people would prefer to die at home in familiar surroundings than in a hospice (palliative care unit) or hospital. Talking with your family and treating team and planning ahead can increase chances of care being provided in your place of choice. Your GP and palliative care team can assist families with having their loved ones at home to die and in managing them to be as comfortable and symptom free as possible at this time.

However not as many people as would like, actually die at home. Circumstances can change and it is not always possible to have the necessary care and equipment at home.

For some families and individuals dying at home may not be the right choice as they feel more supported in a hospice or hospital.

God give us strength. Strength to hold on and strength to let go. Amen.

Michael Leunig.
candle flickering

Being there

Sometimes family and friends may feel at a loss as to what to do when their loved one is at the end of their life. Just be there, listen and talk with them if they want to talk or reminisce. Its natural to show emotion.​

Massage can be a relief to a dying person. Touch creates an intimacy between people. ​

As he deteriorated I knew I could give him a massage, he said it was a relief, that was how I knew I could help. And he would just close his eyes and escape his reality for however long while he was getting one, and I think that he benefited the most from that.

Andrew, carer for his father with late stage pancreatic cancer

A useful resource about Facing End of Life is the Cancer Council 2017 Guide for people dying with cancer, their families and friends. (pdf)