The uncomfortable conversation around death and dying is being made easier, after the community shared experiences and contributed to the Healthy End of Life Project (HELP).
As a result of the project, the Eurobodalla Shire Council is taking steps to empower the community to live and die well.
Over the past three months, the Council explored ways to assist people journeying through the end of life by conducting research in collaboration with La Trobe University and Palliative Care NSW that was funded by COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW Public Health Network.
Council’s Community Care Manager Sally Pryor said 230 community members were involved in a survey and shared personal experiences that were “very moving”.
“We’re so grateful that members of our community were willing to open up about this tender subject so others could benefit in the future,” Ms Pryor said.
Following community sessions, an agency mapping workshop and a successful survey, the greatest need identified was for a people and their loved ones to feel supported during such a critical time.
The Council’s Community Directory, located on its website, was the perfect platform to include a Healthy End of Life category to list supporting services.
Council gave the go-ahead to add the new category as the first step to assist residents.
“The community directory category is just one small way we can help people experience a healthy end of life,” Ms Pryor said.
The End of Life category will go live later this year, with the potential to list more than 50 support services that were identified during the HELP workshop.
After listening to the community, the council has also jumped onboard to support National Dying to Know Day.
Free information sessions will be held at Narooma, Moruya and Batemans Bay Libraries next week. The sessions will be led by educator and author, Shanna Provost.
“I am delighted that council sees the importance of helping the community make end of life a normal aspect of community conversation,” Ms Provost said.
Ms Provost said this year’s theme was ‘Get Dead Set’, where participants can take the time to plan and leave a loving legacy for their family, instead of a dead end.