Many Australians are unprepared to deal with the end of their lives, a new study has found.
According to the latest report from Palliative Care Australia (PCA), less than 20 per cent of adults have taken into account plans for their palliative care as they get older.
Palliative care is defined by the PCA as "specialist care provided for all people living with, and dying from a terminal condition and for whom the primary goal is quality of life".
PCA vice-president Patsy Yates believes palliative care is an important issue that is not being addressed.
"There’s no escaping that we will all die eventually, and everyone deserves quality care at that time," she said in a press release Monday.
"To make that a reality, we need to chat about dying to our loved ones and caregivers. Unfortunately this survey shows this is just not happening," Ms Yates added.
In 2000, the federal government instigated the National Palliative Care Program, with the aim of providing free palliative care to all Australians.
However there are elements of palliative care which this program may not cover, such as life-saving medical equipment and at-home nursing bills. Some private health insurance policies may offer access to these essential services, helping to provide peace of mind for older Australians and their families.
The study also found that despite their own concerns and fears, many Australians can be unwilling to plan for the future, including potential worst-case scenarios.
Findings showed that while 56 per cent of participants had considered the future and where they would most like to die, only 32 per cent had discussed the matter with their loved ones.
Furthermore, only 15 per cent had recorded a plan for how they would like the end of their life to be handled.