Australians are living longer than ever before, with improved surgical and medical treatments helping us stay healthy as we age. But health professionals and the wider community still grapple with the fundamental fact of life – eventually, we’re all going to die.
It has been estimated that 9 out of 10 people never discuss their end-of-life wishes, 45 per cent of people die without having a will, and, while 80 per cent express a wish to die at home, only 20 per cent actually do so.
For more than 25 years, Flinders University’s Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services has been at the forefront of end-of-life care research and education in Australia.
Delivered by Flinders University – in collaboration with a national advisory group comprised of healthcare professionals from across the country – CareSearch is a free online resource designed to help those needing relevant and trustworthy information and resources about palliative care.
In 2016, CareSearch launched the Dying2Learn MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course, which not only delivers death and palliative care education online, but has also built a social network of engaged participants across the country. Since its launch, over 3,000 Australians have completed the 5-week Dying2Learn program, taking an active role in building the national conversation around death and dying.
‘Being able to see what conversations take place in the course has been useful in generating greater awareness about community thoughts… as well as informing research into people’s attitudes towards death and dying,’ said one of the course developers and Flinders University researcher, Dr Lauren Miller-Lewis.
Outside the Dying2Learn MOOC course framework, the CareSearch website provides world-class research and education about palliative care and the end-of-life care process. Directed by Associate Professor Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch provides online resources for GPs, nurses, allied health practitioners, aged care professionals, as well as patients and their families. Resources are designed for Australia’s diverse communities - with specific information tailored to the needs of patients from multicultural backgrounds, gay and lesbian couples, young carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, rural and remote Australians, as well as people living with an intellectual disability or mental illness.
Caregivers and family members are able to access up-to-date information and locate palliative care services and disease-specific resources that can assist them through the death and bereavement process.
Find out more about dying2learn and register for future courses.