What do older people want from their end of life care?

Dr Jessica Cecil1, Ms Jessica Barry1, Dr Frances Batchelor1, Ms Amy Parker1, Mr Andre Catrice2, Ms Nicole Doran2

1National Ageing Research Institute, Parkville, Australia, 2Victorian Department of Health and Human Services , Melbourne, Australia

Aims: Health and wellbeing support for older people should be informed by overarching consumer needs, expectations and priorities. The aim of this project was explore what is important to older Victorians (aged 65 and above) and their carers in relation to health and wellbeing during end of life care.

Methods: This project was approved by the Austin Human Ethics Committee HREC/45098/Austin-2019. A mixed methods approach was employed including community-based, semi-structured focus groups (n = 63), social media consultation (n = 13) and an online state-wide survey (n = 298) with older people across metropolitan and regional Victoria. Questions focused on preferences and expectations for end of life care. Qualitative data was analysed thematically, and quantitative data was entered into SPSS for summary statistical analyses.

Results: Participants were predominantly community dwelling (96%) older Victorians (aged 65 years and above), of which 53% had prior experience with a spouse, family member or friend receiving end of life care. The top 5 health and well-being priorities identified for end of life care were;

  1. Being treated with empathy and respect
  2. Pain management
  3. Family-centred end of life care
  4. Access to palliative care services
  5. Written plans and verbal conversations

Conclusions: This project provides insights to support end of life health policy development that is responsive to the needs, expectations and preferences of older Victorians.


Dr Jessica Cecil is a Research Fellow within the Aged Care Division at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). With an special interest in translational and multi-disciplinary research, her current research topics include continence care in residential aged care, health and wellbeing in remote Aboriginal communities as well as older people and public health care.

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