Healthy living

End of life care

Hearing that your illness can not be cured can be a frightening experience. In this section you will find information and resources to help you understand the issues faced by people who are dying. Having this information can help you feel more comfortable making decisions when facing the end of life.

Palliative care

Palliative care aims to improves the quality of life of anyone with a life-limiting condition, their family and carers. It sees death and dying as a normal part of life and does not try to shorten life or make life longer  instead it helps you live as well as possible. It can support you as well as your carers, friends and family throughout your illness.

Visit the Palliative care page for more information about what palliative care is, who it is for, and how to access palliative care services.

Making your care choices known (advance care planning)

When you approach the end of life it is important that your loved ones and health care team know what your health and personal preferences are. There are a few steps you can take to make sure your wishes can be followed even if your illness takes away your ability to make decisions about your care.

  • Advance care planning is about planning your current and future health care. It involves learning about your options and choosing the type of care that is best for you.
  • Creating an Advance Health Directive puts wishes about specific treatments or procedures in writing. This includes life-sustaining measures and palliative care.  
  • Appointing and enduring guardian lets someone else make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions for you if you aren’t able to make them yourself.
Voluntary assisted dying

Voluntary assisted dying refers to asking for medical help to end your life if you have a disease or illness that is so severe it is going to cause your death and your suffering cannot be relived in a manner tolerable to you. Voluntary assisted dying is a legal end of life choice for eligible Western Australians as of 1 July 2021. 

Learn more on the voluntary assisted dying page.

Understanding the dying process

It is important to remember that just as people are unique, so too is their death. It is almost impossible to tell you exactly when or how a person will die.

Regardless of the illness there are several changes that are likely to happen as death gets closer. Our Understanding the dying process page can help you be prepared for what to expect as death approaches.

Last reviewed: 18-10-2021

WA Cancer and Palliative Network

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Information about a service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace professional advice. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified professional for answers to their questions.

Related sites

Palliative Care WA helpline: 1800 573 299. White text on purple background. with two women talking on a bench in bottom right corner