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Talking with your relative or friend about their illness

Many people worry about how to talk with someone who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, particularly as their health deteriorates. It can be hard to know how to broach the subject - some people avoid talking about the illness altogether. It’s normal for people to feel this way, but it’s important to remember that sometimes it is our own anxiety that prevents us from having these conversations.  Often the person who is ill or dying wants to talk openly, but they too have avoided the subject because they want to protect those close to them, or don’t know where to start. We’ll never really know until we try to raise the subject. There is no right way and wrong way to do this: it will come down to your characteristics and those of the person close to you.

Here are some useful information, resources and links to help you talk with your relative.

Palliative Care Program
Your Palliative Care team may:

  • Refer you to the Palliative Care Supportive Care Team for support.
  • Organise a joint nursing-medical visit.
  • Organise a family meeting with medical and nursing staff.
  • Encourage you to discuss this with your GP.
  • More information on the Barwon Health Palliative Care Program

Helpful resources and links
Websites and other resources






Last Modified: Monday, 10 August 2020