What is Healthy Dying?

The Healthy Dying Initiative is a public health promoting strategy with the key objectives to make Tasmania a place where:

  • Dying is recognised, acknowledged and supported by all parts of the community and its services.
  • Decision making at the end of life is oriented towards timely and appropriate provision of palliative care for those who need it.
  • Best practice in palliative care is to be ‘health promoting’ – the same kinds of things support a good death as support a good life.

The Fundamental Principles of the Healthy Dying Initiative are that:

  • Death is an inevitable consequence of having life.
  • Dying days are as valuable as non-dying days.
  • If cure, remission or restoration is not possible, there is a clear responsibility to provide palliative care to manage symptoms and to optimise quality of life.
  • The importance of relationships is acknowledged, as it is known that the quality of end of life experiences impacts on the longer term health outcomes for the bereaved.

The main strategies for achieving the aims of the Healthy Dying Initiative are:

  • To provide education and information about health, death and dying.
  • To provide both personal and social supports to people who are dying, their families and carers.
  • To encourage interpersonal reorientation towards a ‘natural’ death.
  • To encourage reorientation of palliative care services towards public health ideas of prevention, harm reduction and community participation.
  • To combat death-denying health policies and attitudes.

Current activities which support the Healthy Dying Initiative:

  • A state-wide plan for the implementation of Advance Care Directives.
  • In southern Tasmania, the Goals of Care Plan at the Royal Hobart Hospital aims to ensure that patients who are unlikely to benefit from medical treatment aimed at cure, receive care appropriate to their condition and are not subjected to burdensome treatments, especially where this is contrary to their wishes.
  • The establishment and training of Peer Educator groups in each area of the state to engage with health and community services and interest groups in health promoting palliative care, advance care planning and cultural attitude changes toward death and dying.