Preparing for death is a part of life

When comes to end of life care, preparation is key as there's many different things to do and key documents you'll need both before and after a loved one's death.

Palliative Care, an educational series from HammondCare

The approach to end of life, for whatever reason, can be a daunting time for everyone involved. However, many people - patients, their carers and family alike - are often surprised about the valuable and positive role that palliative care can play in improving quality of life and making this time more manageable.

Palliative care assists to improve people’s quality of life during the course of a progressive life-limiting illness. This care isn’t just about pain relief medicine. It is more holistic. It also addresses the psychological and spiritual aspects of care, providing support to help patients live as actively as possible.

Being well informed about palliative care can make this journey more manageable and help reduce the associated fears and concerns. That is why HammondCare is launching a series of articles to guide people on how palliative care can improve the quality of life for patients, their carers, and families.

A new topic will be posted each month and we hope you find them useful in your own journey.

preparing for death is part of life banner

Preparing for death is a part of life

Preparation is key

This time is much easier for everyone if you can prepare in advance. Try to be as organised as possible.

Firstly, make sure you know where to find important documents. They may be stored with a lawyer, at a secure document storage facility, or in a safe place in the house. 

Key documents
  • A copy of your Will  
  • Any instructions about the distribution of personal belongings not covered in the Will  
  • Your birth certificate 
  • A list, including contact details, of organisations and people to notify if anything happens
  • Instructions on where all your property and investments are and who to contact about them
  • Information about any online accounts you have (e.g. social media accounts) which you want shut down when you die
  • Details of your insurance policies
  • Important documents such as land titles and mortgage agreements
  • Any other documents that may be important to your family, e.g. the original manuscript of a book you have written 
  • Any wishes relating to funeral arrangements: 
  • A list of friends you want at the funeral and their contact details  
  • A letter to individuals or a recorded message for the funeral  
  • Your wishes for the funeral if they are not detailed in your Will 
What are some of the things that need to be done after a family member dies?

A doctor must sign a certificate that confirms the death. Funeral arrangements cannot be completed until the doctor has signed and issued this certificate, generally called a Doctor's Certificate of Cause of Death. The funeral company can then take the person who has died into their care.

The funeral director in charge of the funeral arrangements will generally collect all the information needed for registering the death and send it to the relevant state or territory government office. The funeral director may also help with things such as newspaper notices, flowers and religious services. Read more about who to contact on the Australian Funeral Directors Association website.

If a funeral director is not involved with the funeral arrangements, the person who manages the final arrangements for the deceased is responsible for registering the death. A family member or a funeral director needs to register the death, including obtaining a medical certificate or Coroner’s Authorisation (before the body is buried), organise the funeral and notify the other family members and close friends of the deceased.

If you have benefited from this information and would like to share it with others, then please do – we want more people to feel comfortable facing the issue of palliative care.

For further information on HammondCare’s Palliative Care services, please contact us on 1800 826 166.