Unspoken: Across Victoria in 2018

Join us as Unspoken: What will become of me? travels across Victoria in 2018

Health Issues Centre in conjunction with COTA is pleased to present Unspoken: What will become of me? across Victoria in 2018.

Our research suggests that cultural, behavioural and informational obstacles stop Victorians from thinking about their end of life, making plans and sharing this information with family and carers.

There is a general reluctance to think about declining capacity and eventual death. This might explain the low uptake of Advance Care Planning  and why in many instances, these conversations are initiated in clinical settings in response to an impending health crisis.

There is also a lot of confusion about concepts and terminology. People may not have a clear understanding of the distinction between palliative care vs voluntary assisted dying; clinical (substitute) decision-maker vs Medical Power of Attorney; or Advance Care Planning vs Estate Planning.

Or maybe it’s just easier to not think about it?

This is the background against which the Victoria government proposes to introduce its three discrete but connected end-of-life initiatives that will impact on end of life choices, decision-making and experiences.

The Victorian End of Life and Palliative Care Framework seeks to define end of life care and guides improvements for providers, enabling people with a terminal illness to receive person-centred care that respects their preferences.

Changes to the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 will improve options for Victorians to express their wishes around end of life care and treatment through Advance Care Directives that have statutory recognition. This act will come into effect from March 2018.

Most recently, the Victorian Lower House of Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. It will now go to the Upper House shortly.

So why aren’t we all on board with initiatives that can give us more control at an important time in our life? Are we even aware? And if we are, do we know what it all means?

The Unspoken: What will become of me? roadshow across Victoria uses art and performance to generate awareness, understanding and action around end of life conversations in a safe space. These conversations are sometimes difficult and always very personal but they can provide peace of mind that personal preferences, values and beliefs will be respected.

The event explores the themes of ageing, declining capacity, diminished autonomy and sense of identity gently and with humour. It focuses at times on rational thought and at other times on feelings and fears. It provides people with the opportunity to gather their thoughts and gather information from peer-educators.

The program is being developed and we look forward to announcing the schedule for 2018 soon.

For more information please contact Francesca Trimboli

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