What is a ‘good death’?

People often talk about wanting to have a “good death”. What dying well means is different for each person, shaped by their attitudes, cultural background, spiritual beliefs and medical treatments.

Think about what dying well means to you. You might find it is important 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 your wishes are respected.

There are different ways 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. It is important that your family, friends and health care team understand what matters most to you. Open conversations and planning ahead for dying can also help family members and friends cope better with the grief and loss they may experience (bereavement). They may feel a sense of peace knowing your preferences were respected.


Thoughts about euthanasia

If an illness is prolonged or causing uncomfortable symptoms, some people think about speeding things up. Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending the life of a person with an incurable condition or illness. Voluntary assisted dying is when a person ends their own life with the help of a doctor.

At the time of publication (2020), euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying are illegal in most states and territories in Australia. Voluntary assisted dying for people who meet strict criteria is legal in Victoria. To find out more, visit health.vic.gov.au and search for “voluntary assisted dying”. There is currently much discussion of these issues. The law has recently changed in Western Australia, and the laws are under review in some other states and territories (visit end-of-life.qut.edu.au for updates).

Regardless of the law, some seriously ill people consider this path. Sometimes a person with cancer may decide they want their death hastened, but later decide that they don’t. They may have thought that way because they were feeling particularly ill, scared, or worried about the strain they were putting on others.

If this is how you feel, discuss your concerns with a doctor, counsellor or social worker. Sometimes these feelings are due to depression or a sense of helplessness, or because pain or other symptoms are not well controlled.

Pain and depression can almost always be treated, and help is generally available for other symptoms. It is important that you talk to your doctor or nurse about any physical or emotional symptoms that are causing you pain or distress, and find ways to make your final days more comfortable.

If you urgently need somebody to talk to because you are thinking about ending your life, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for free, confidential telephone counselling at any time.


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    Facing End of Life

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in January 2020
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