Letter to the Editor – Law at the end of life

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Dear Editor,

Cancer Council and QUT are seeking Queenslanders to take part in research examining medical decisions by and for people with terminal illnesses – the first national study of its kind.

The Australian-first study aims to better understand community engagement and decision making about law at the end of life.

The study will be the first attempt to determine the community’s knowledge about law at the end of life, and how that affects the ability of patients and their families to make decisions about treatment.

Interested patients and family members will be offered information on their legal rights and responsibilities in relation to end-of-life decision-making.

Adult patients with a terminal illness, and their family members (including bereaved family members) are invited to take part in the national study.

Australian law requires that informed consent about medical treatment be given prior to treatment, and that patients participate in decisions about their healthcare.

However, there are major barriers to this kind of participation, particularly at the end of life.

Making crucial decisions, such as continuing aggressive treatment or entering palliative care, requires knowledge and understanding from patients and carers about their legal rights.

This project seeks to understand the community’s knowledge of law at the end of life, and how that affects the ability of patients and their families to make decisions about treatment.

We’re asking for patients and families affected to take part in our study, to improve understanding of medical decision-making, including what support would assist Australians in making complex decisions.

Queenslanders can find out more by contacting the research team at QUT on 3365 2505, or bp.white@qut.edu.au.

Cancer Council works hard to support all Queenslanders affected by all cancers, throughout every stage of the cancer journey.

If you or a loved one needs support or a listening ear, please call 13 11 20 – our cancer information and support line.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via cancerqld.org.au.

Ms Chris McMillan
CEO Cancer Council Queensland


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171