Introduction of Victorian Assisted Dying Legislation

Read COTA Victoria’s Media Release

To understand the background to this legislation read the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying Final report here. This report was the culmination of extensive community and service consultations, an interim report and a discussion paper.

Read articles on the introduction here:

ABC
The Conversation

Brief History

Following the Victorian Parliamentary Committee’s Inquiry into end of life choices in 2015, the Government appointed a Ministerial Advisory Panel to develop voluntary assisted dying legislation for introduction into Parliament in 2017.

COTA Victoria’s submission to the Ministerial Advisory Panel’s discussion paper on developing a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill can be found here  Follow this link to read more

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into End of Life Choices

The Victorian Legislative Council’s Inquiry into end of life choices in 2015 addressed end of life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying. The Victorian Government responded to the Inquiry in December 2016.

You can also download:

The summary and full report Inquiry into end of life choices
COTA Victoria Submission into End of Life Choices

Victoria’s end of life and palliative care framework

Victoria’s end of life and palliative care framework was released by the Minister for Health the Hon Jill Hennessy, MP in July 2016. The framework was the result of extensive consultation across Victoria during 2015 – 2016.  The End of Life and Palliative Care Framework will support more people with a terminal illness to die at home, and enshrine advance care directives in law for the first time in Victoria. Advance care directives will come into effect in March 2018.

You can also download:

Victorian End of life and palliative care framework
2015 COTA Victoria End of life Care Framework Submission

Continue reading…

Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning is when a person discusses with those close to them and their doctor their preferences for their future medical treatment and personal care. Advance care planning is something that a person with capacity can do for themself.  (And the wishes of someone who does not have capacity should always be sought.)

Making legally binding advance care directives will be possible from March 2018. For further information please see Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016

Read more…

Palliative Care

$5 Million Palliative Care Boost to Support More Victorians to Die At Home

“All Victorians deserve access to the best possible end-of-life care which relieves pain and suffering and supports families and carers in their last days.” Jill Hennessy, Minister for Health

A new $5 million fund for community palliative care agencies to provide at home palliative care will support more Victorians with a terminal illness to be cared for, and die, in their place of choice.

Continue reading…

A New Resource for Aged Care – palliAGED

A new online resource called palliAGED was launched last week by the Minister of Ageing, Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP. palliAGED provides trustworthy, evidence based information and resources to support all those involved in caring for older Australians approaching the end of their life. This includes nurses and care workers in residential aged care or community care, GPs and general practice nurses, allied health professionals and support staff. There is also relevant and trustworthy information and resources for older people and their families.

Continue reading….

End of life issues

New education resources to help LGBTI seniors plan for end-of-life-care

The Department of Health has released new resources to support advance care planning and navigating My Aged Care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) seniors.

Continue reading about LGBTI Advance Care Planning

Plan your future care

People plan for the future in different ways:

  • insurance such as life, health, car, property, income
  • superannuation
  • trusts for the care of children with disabilities
  • registering for organ donation
  • making wills
  • making funeral plans.

Part of planning for the future is to make choices now in case of injury or illness.

This can include by making:

7 Responses to End of Life Issues

  1. Margaret T says:

    I hope the discussions include euthenasia to be discussed seriously.
    My husband died with Alzheimers’disease and it seemed so cruel for him to suffering the way he was. The same thing can be applied to people in the later stages of terminal cancer.
    I think we should be able to specify that we wish to die at a certain stage with a terminal disease. Surely the rules could be made tight enough to cover all contingencies IF a person wishes that to happen.
    When I saw how peacefully our Whippets were allowed to die when it was obviously the correct thing to do, it certainly made me think.

  2. Heather M says:

    NO palliative care in a hospital bed for me for up to 3 weeks.
    I want VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA to die in my home bed and go at a day time I choose = die with dignity.

    No one else should have the right to tell me I cannot do this. Safeguards are running in overseas countries for this and Australia needs to join the world.

  3. COTA Vic says:

    How can we best ensure quality of life until end of life. The issues Margaret and Heather raise are the stories behind the services and supports. How do we ensure there is adequate and appropriate palliative care for home, in hospice care and institutions? This means not just attending to pain management but holistically addressing the person’s individual circumstances, needs and choices. The Inquiry into End of Life Decision Making wants to hear these stories as they highlight the lived experience of people facing end of life. Keep your comments coming. COTA is exploring what does it mean to have ‘informed choice’ within current legislative frameworks and what safeguards are essential when considering other models that include Euthanasia and assisted suicide. We must all participate in this important debate. Thank you for both sharing what is difficult and painful.

  4. susan says:

    as an only daughter , i knew my dad was dying. In hospital treatment of me and my dad was disgusting and i find it hard to forget. i dont think hospital staff know how to care for older (89) , mentally sound people who are dying. There was no assistance for us at all until dads heart gp was contacted and then two days before he died he was put in a ‘quiet’ room where we were even easier to ignore. mydad took a week to pass away , most of it in severe pain.

  5. bmorton says:

    Your experience demonstrates a lack of respect, dignity and care. It highlights a range of issues in particular the care provided to older people that are dying – and their family. Was there palliative care being provided? The lack of emotional, physical and spiritual care you experienced was traumatising. Please let the Hospital Patient Advocate know. Make a complaint when you feel able to. Let the Inquiry know about your experience. Thank you for sharing what is clearly a deeply painful experience.

  6. LG says:

    I have been asked by my fathers nursing home to complete his End of Life Wishes form. He has dementia so is in capable of being involved. He cannot make sentences and doesn’t really understand anything that s asked of him nor can answer. I am finding it really hard as I really have no idea what he would want. Do i approach it from a what we would want? My mother also has suffered some cognitive decline lately due the long term affects of a stroke she had 11 years ago, so it would be hard to ask her. But is that and his doctor a place to start? There are 3 daughters. Advice appreciated.

  7. Hi LG,

    It is really hard to know what someone wants (or would have wanted) with an end of life plan. So we can suggest some resources and starting points. The best way to approach this is to try to try and ‘stand in the shoes’ of your father. Imagine seeing the choices from his point of view – not your own. Planning and making decisions about life-prolonging treatments can be emotionally difficult for you and your family. You need to weigh up the potential benefits (help) and burdens (harm) from the treatment as it relates to the person. This can be hard, and there is no ‘right’ answer. Think about how the treatment would fit within the person’s life goals, values and beliefs. If you do decide to say ‘no’ to a particular treatment, your father will continue to receive other medical care.

    Talk to your mum. Your mother may have had some decline but she would be able talk about your dad’s values and beliefs. You can ask your mother “What would dad have wanted?”” What was important to him?” If your mother doesn’t know or isn’t able to provide enough information then it is about what is in the best interests of the patient (your father). Best interests is defined as “what most people in that condition would want”. Keep your sisters involved and at the end of the day its being able to say “this is what dad would have wanted” or “this is what most people in his situation would want”.

    Once again – there is no ‘right’ decision. You are providing guidance (to the best of your ability) to medical staff about your father’s wishes or what is in his ‘best interest’. If you are unsure what would be in the ‘best interest’ of your father – talk to the Doctor who approached you. Here are some links to resources for you, your mother and sisters.

    You are already working in your father’s ‘best interest’ by seeking advice and information. Good luck.
    https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/for-family-friends-carers/making-a-treatment-decision-for-someone-else
    https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/for-family-friends-carers/what-are-life-prolonging-treatments

    Barwon Health Personal Value Profile Survey http://cotavic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Barwon-Health-Personal-Value-Profile-Survey_20140709.pdf
    Dying to Talk Discussion Starter Kit http://dyingtotalk.org.au/discussion-starter/

    COTA Team

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