A project in local government is exploring how councils across Victoria could build compassionate and resilient communities around dying, death and grief to better support Victorians to die in their place of choice.

The Victorian Councils: Supporting Communities Around End of Life Project - a partnership between the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and La Trobe University Palliative Care Unit - is exploring how councils could build compassionate and resilient communities around dying, death and grief to better support Victorians to die in their place of choice.

Annual Dying to Know Day, on Wednesday 8 August 2018, is an important reminder that talking about and planning for dying are key to ensuring our loved ones have as much choice as is possible in how and where they die.

More than 75 per cent of us prefer to avoid the conversation about planning for our end of life or the end of life of our loved ones, and an estimated 70 per cent of us who died in hospital would have preferred to die at home.

The Victorian Government started a big conversation around end of life care, with the release of Victoria’s end of life and palliative care framework (the Framework) in July 2016, with an initial investment of $7.2 million, part of which has funded the MAV project with La Trobe University.

As part of the research, three projects are underway:

The Mansfield End of Life project

Mansfield Shire Council is supporting people to see death as a natural stage of life, to have end of life plans and be more confident to support others through the end stages of their lives. Through activities including community meetings and guest speakers, the council is expanding knowledge and understanding of healthier approaches to death, dying and bereavement.

Way to go project

Whittlesea Council is looking at diversity and gaining a deeper understanding of dying, death and bereavement as it is experienced in different cultural groups. The council in particular will be engaging with Greek and Macedonian communities to find out about death, dying and bereavement experiences and dying at home.

Foster End of Life pilot project

Through community meetings with residents, services and networks, the project will identify ways that individuals and their families experiencing end of life can be better supported, including the celebration of life prior to the end.

The findings of the project - due to report in December 2019 - will help the Victorian Government and local government to better plan and understand how communities can better support one another to improve people’s end of life experiences.

Person-centred services and care