Murrumbidgee Local Health District is reminding community members to not shy away from having difficult conversations with their loved ones around end-of-life.
The reminder comes with August 8 being Dying to Know Day, an annual campaign which encourages the community become more 'death literate' and adopt skills to make appropriate end-of-life decisions.
The campaign also encourages people to overcome their discomfort around death and to adopt a suitable approach to end-of-life planning, consistent with this year's theme of 'Get Dead Set'.
MLHD palliative care nurse practitioner Jenny McKenzie said the day is also about reassuring people nearing end-of-life and their families.
"It's a known fact that 100 per cent of us will die at some point," Ms McKenzie said.
"We know from working in the area that people who have conversations around what they would like, their goals, or how they would like their funeral to be tend to die with a bit more peace in their heart than people that don't."
Ms McKenzie, who has been working in palliative care for more than two decades, said end-of-life care should be more openly discussed and acknowledged.
"The origins of palliative care and hospices in Australia were very much brick and mortar. It was all very secret and behind brick walls," she explained.
"Dying to Know Day is a reflection of that, in that we're trying to open things up and have conversations.
"Having a talk about dying doesn't actually make it happen," she continued.
"Talking about end-of-life is actually liberating. Talk about the bad stuff, get everything organised, have a plan and then pop it away, and review it down the track. It makes things easier."
As part of the 'Get Dead Set' theme, MLHD has offered the community three tips for preparing for an end-of-life situation.
These include having choices written down similar to a will, having meaningful conversations with loved ones and preparing a send-off.
MLHD is also encouraging people to start conversations and share their experiences on social media using the hashtags #GetDeadSet and #DyingToKnowDay.
"It's about using anything as a catalyst to get the conversation started," Ms McKenzie said. "Hopefully people feel a bit better for having had the conversation."
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