When it comes to death the statistics are clear: We will all die.

This reality greets readers of a recent report published by the Australian Centre for Health Research entitled: Conversations: Creating Choice in End of Life Care.

End of Life Care has a low profile in Australia. It is not recognised as a public health concern, and we lack the national awareness and engagement programs evident in other countries.
Our impressive global record of health promotion and public education is not being matched in the process of dying, death or bereavement.1

The key ‘take home’ message from this report is one of transformation. Through social action, we as a society can transform our culture in a shift away from avoidance – and towards open acceptance of death. It is argued that engaging more openly in discussions about dying can benefit individuals and communities – through a public health understanding of death and dying that focuses on health promotion. This report presents eight steps – as a road map for action towards this transformation – beginning with conversation.

This timely report builds on the growing interest in public health approaches to palliative and end-of-life care in Australia and internationally.

One example of this is the current Public Health Special Issue of Progress in Palliative Care, guest edited by John Rosenberg, Jason Mills and Bruce Rumbold.

Another example is a recent blog post by Libby Sallnow on the EAPC Blog, discussing her systematic review published in Palliative Medicine – investigating the impact of public health approaches to end-of-life care.

Finally, the team at CareSearch are in the process of developing a ‘massive open
online course’ (MOOC) on death and dying that aims to create supportive (social) environments, and strengthen community action. Further details of this can be found in Deb Rawlings’ Palliative Perspectives blog post here.

We here at Palliverse are very keen to encourage broader discussion and to participate in ongoing community engagement around end of life concerns.

Do you have any suggestions how best to do this?



  1. Bartel, R. (2016) Conversations: Creating Choice in End of Life Care. Melbourne: Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR).

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