I Am Living

Celebrating Palliative Care Week 2024 – Living fully at end-of-life

Palliative care emphasises the importance of living meaningfully after a terminal diagnosis.

We will all have to face our mortality one day. As we enter the last phase in life, palliative care may play a vital role in making the last stage of our journey more comfortable and fulfilling for us and the important people in our lives.

The goal of palliative care is to provide a comprehensive approach to care that addresses not only physical symptoms but also psychological, cognitive, social, cultural, and spiritual wellbeing. It is about embracing life while navigating the inevitability of death.

Palliative care is so much more than managing symptoms; it focuses on affirming each person’s inherent dignity and values, ensuring their final journey is marked by love, compassion, and grace.

Have a plan.

A key element of palliative care is acknowledging that we will not live forever. By supporting us addressing our fears, palliative care encourages us to make plans for our end-of-life phase. This goes beyond medical directives as we are encouraged to acknowledge and address our values, aspirations, preferences and wishes.

Having meaningful conversations about our end-of-life wishes and preferences helps us to take back control of our narrative, ensuring that our final chapter aligns with our deepest beliefs.

Appreciating all that life has to offer.

When faced with death, we come to appreciate the small delights of life. Here are some principles of palliative care that help us to live well as we phase death.

Gratitude is a cornerstone of life’s journey. Each passing moment has its own beauty, despite the challenges and limitations we may face. Palliative care encourages us to cherish the love, laughter, and memories shared throughout our lives, acknowledging the preciousness of life, even amidst its twilight.

Family is at the core to the palliative care story, recognising the love and support of those closest to us. Their unwavering presence gives us solace and companionship in moments of vulnerability. When supported by our loved ones, we feel stronger to navigate life’s complexities.

Connection and resilience ensure that we foster meaningful human connections that promote a better sense of belonging and community. Drawing strength from our shared humanity helps us become stronger in the face of adversity.

Friendship and fulfilment enhance the palliative care experience with joy and laughter. This is a time for celebrating the simple pleasures and the bonds that have been forged over a lifetime. Friendships provide comfort and affirmation and that all-important human connection.

Acceptance and making amends help us come to terms with our mortality and seek forgiveness. Through palliative care, we can focus on reflection and reconciliation and embrace our imperfections with grace and humility, empowering us to heal and move forward.

Spirituality, faith, and courage become sources of comfort, hope, and solace when we need them most. Palliative care honours the diversity of beliefs that provide meaning and purpose for life, whether they are religious rituals or spiritual practices.


Bravery helps us embrace life in all its complexity, giving us the strength to refuse to give in to despair or hopelessness. When faced with adversity, we uncover our inner strength, and find solace in the knowledge that we are not alone.


Reflection and dignity guide us towards a sense of peace and acceptance. Palliative care honours every individual’s intrinsic worth and affirms their right to a dignified death. This is a journey filled with self-discovery and introspection, as we face our fears and aspirations with courage and grace.


Giving back is a natural result of the palliative care journey. In our efforts to make a positive impact on the world, we want to continue the legacy of compassion and kindness. Whether through acts of service or expressions of love, we leave behind a legacy of generosity and goodwill.


Living fully in the time of dying embodies the essence of palliative care, inviting us to embrace life with gratitude, humility, and courage. Through meaningful connections and acts of compassion, we can find solace and fulfillment in the face of mortality. And in doing so, live our final days with dignity and grace.

To learn more about real palliative and end-of-life experiences, watch the conversations here: https://www.iamliving.org.au/stories/ or visit Palliative Care Australia: palliativecare.org.au