A guide to dying well

  20 January 2022  NWMPHN   

This media release was written by NWMPHN on 21 January 2022.

A “good death” that minimises distress for the person dying, as well as their families, friends and carers, is always desired — but sometimes isn’t realised.

Now a new website and resource collection aims to help ensure the last chapter of a person’s life is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Lately is a website that provides information, options and education about end-of-life support. It is designed to ease communication and planning for people who have received a terminal diagnosis, and for those who love and care for them. It was developed by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN), with the support of the Australian Government.

You can find it here: lately.org.au

“Most people are uncomfortable talking about death, and sometimes delay necessary conversations until it is too late,” says NWMPHN CEO Christopher Carter.

“Too often discussions about end-of-life planning do not start until the person concerned is in an emergency department, an aged care facility, or a palliative care unit, and emotions are running high.

“These difficult conversations require courage, openness, time and the ability to listen and learn. Lately provides the resources and concepts to make having those conversations easier.”

With input from experts on the physical, mental and cultural impacts of ageing and death, the website helps patients, friends, family and carers to create care plans, and understand the social, religious and secular beliefs that influence how each person wishes to be cared for in their final days. This may include options for medical interventions, and how they want their remains treated.

Lately contains an extensive directory of services and support offered by hundreds of organisations, so family and carers can best meet the wishes of the dying person. Some of these focus on the north, west and central Melbourne regions, but are broadly applicable over the state.

The directory will continue to grow, with groups, organisations and businesses that offer services appropriate for end-of-life matters able to add their details through a free, curated, listing.

“The Lately website has been developed to respond to the needs of our community for quality and up to date information to support people in need of end-of-life care and their carers,” says NoraRefahi, a mental health counsellor specialising in palliative care, who took part in the community consultation phase of the website’s development.

“This website provides examples on how to discuss difficult topics, and it contains information on practical support and planning resources to help care for the person nearing the end of life, and for those caring for them.”

Lately was created by NWMPHN, in collaboration with Melbourne digital design agency Portable and in consultation with palliative care experts and clinicians. The project is part of the Australian Government’s Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care measure initiative, to improve palliative care coordination through Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

Visit: lately.org.au

For more information: Andrew Masterson: andrew.masterson@nwmphn.org.au; 0488 777 179

Christopher Carter, NWMPHN CEO, is available for interview.

 You can download a copy of the media release here.

How to get involved

Use our promotion pack to encourage people in Melbourne’s centre, north and west to visit lately.org.au for information, options and education about end-of-life support.