The project, ‘Dying to Talk: talking about death, it won’t kill you’ has been embarking on a rural tour of South Australia since June as part of a national initiative through Palliative Care Australia with the hopes of opening up discussions and minds about end of life care and encouraging death literacy in the wider community.
Previously taking the conversation to South Australian towns such as Victor Harbor, Port Augusta, Kadina and Kangaroo Island, Dying to Talk Facilitator Helen Roberts says future tour locations include Mount Gambier, Barossa Valley, Murray Bridge, Berri, Port Lincoln and Ceduna.
“Palliative Care SA run the Die-alogue Cafe Program in Adelaide already which the rural areas don’t have the opportunity to attend,” she says.
“The needs of the rural communities are the same and information can sometimes be more difficult to source in these areas where resources can be low.”
Palliative Care SA has raised concerns that people are not considering palliative care soon enough because of a misconception that it is a place to be fearful of.
“Death phobia is a common barrier to dying well and this program is all about letting people know that talking about death and end of life choices doesn’t have to be morbid or grim,” Ms Roberts says.
“People die from birth to old age so being informed can be helpful to you or someone you care about.
“We have even seen people attend from within the industry – such as aged care workers, community nurses and allied health professionals.”
For those who are planning on attending one of the upcoming discussions, Ms Roberts assures that it is a safe place to discuss all aspects of end of life care.
“The program uses the concept of planning in advance and is guided by the ‘Dying to Talk starter kit’ which is facilitated by people experienced in end-of-life matters,” she says.
“We cover everything from what is palliative care, Advance Care Directive information, natural burial or alternative burial options, bereavement or the afterlife.
“The discussion is largely driven by the people attending so conversations vary from group to group.
“The conversation itself can be difficult to start but openness around planning and discussing end of life choices will ultimately benefit society and individuals in many ways.”
As well as covering specific topics, each talk will help to answer any questions and provide locals with information about how to access their own community services.