What do I need to consider about dying at home?
Having some control over where death occurs is a key factor in dying well, wherever that place might be. For some people, dying at home is possible with planning, support, knowledge and confidence. For other people, dying at home is not possible, due to practical matters.
You need to consider:
your physical needs
the support that family and friends can provide
the services available in your area.
Discuss with your family, friends, doctor and palliative care nurse early about where you would prefer to be in your final days and hours, and what is important to you. Find out their views and preferences. To die at home, you and those around you need practical, medical, emotional and other support services. Ask for advice from your GP, the treating team and the palliative care team.
It can feel like the decision is out of your hands. Practical matters help decide where you die and must be considered. For example, your medical needs might be impossible to deliver at home, the layout of the house might be unsuitable, or your home might be too remote for home visits. Many services are provided based on local government areas. The types of services, including after hours support, differ around Victoria.
To increase the chances of care being able to be provided at home, plan ahead:
Complete an advance care plan, so your wishes can be documented and distributed to people who need to know.
Talk to your family and healthcare team about what options are available to you and if you or your family or carers have any concerns.
Call the Palliative Care Advice Service on 1800 360 000 to talk about what services are available in your area and which services you need to engage.
This information is general guidance and may not be applicable to your specific circumstances. For personal advice, please contact a medical or legal practitioner or a spiritual, cultural or community leader.
This content was written for people in Victoria, Australia. Laws and practices differ in other states, territories and countries.