What is a ‘good death’?

People often talk about wanting to have a ‘good death’. What dying well means is unique for each person, shaped by individual attitudes, cultural background, spirituality and medical treatments.

Think about what dying well means to you. Many people have found that it helps to:

  • know that death is coming and have some understanding of what to expect
  • have some control over pain relief and other symptoms
  • be able to retain some control over where death occurs and how it happens
  • maintain a sense of dignity
  • have the opportunity to prepare for death
  • reconcile damaged or broken relationships
  • have the chance to say goodbye
  • resolve regrets
  • be able to have a say in end-of-life care and ensure wishes are respected.

There is more than one way to die well. Some people see staying at home as the key to dying well, but others feel more supported spending their last days in a hospital or palliative care unit. The important thing is that your family, friends and health care team understand what matters most to you.

Open conversations and planning ahead for dying and death can also help family members and friends cope better with bereavement. They may feel a sense of peace knowing that they helped you to die according to your wishes.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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