Griefline - Free Grief and Bereavement Support for Family and Friends of those using VAD
Dealing with grief can be very challenging at the best of times. Experience from other states has shown that the death of a loved one who uses VAD can raise some unique issues for those left behind, both before and after death. This has led to families and friends seeking support from those who are familiar with the VAD process.
With Victoria having the first VAD law, Dying with Dignity Victoria have partnered with Griefline to develop some VAD specific resources and run support groups to connect those who have experienced VAD with a loved one. These are available to residents in all states and territories.
Griefline also provides free and confidential telephone support staffed by trained counsellors, for anyone experiencing loss or grief.
If you are struggling with these issues we urge you to make contact with Griefline using the following links:
- Telephone support line: call 1300 845 745 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week (AEDT)
- Information about Support groups: Griefline webpage and Factsheet
- Guide to coping with grief after VAD: Coping With Grief After Voluntary Assisted Dying: A Guide For Family And Friends
Doctor Rodney Syme - A Completed Life
Many of you will be familiar with the late Dr Rodney Syme who played such a pivotal role in achieving VAD laws in this country. Prior to his death in October 2021, Rodney was working on a new book highlighting the plight of people with dementia, and his suggestions for further legislative change. While there is little prospect of VAD becoming available to those who lack decision-making capacity in the near future, our community faces a huge burden of disease from dementia and many in the community feel strongly the VAD should be an option.
Dying with Dignity Victoria have self published Rodney’s book “A Completed Life” which is available for purchase through their webstore (in paperback or e-book) - click here to buy a copy
In other news
VAD and Telehealth - the “carriage service” problem: In very disappointing news, the Federal Court recently ruled that discussions about VAD via telephone, email or telehealth might breach federal laws about using a “carriage service” to encourage or incite suicide. This is a blow to terminally ill people, especially those living in rural and regional areas. You can read more here and also here.
New Podcast Series - VAD in Australia: The Australian Centre for Health Law Research at QUT has played a vital role in the passage and operation of VAD laws in Australia and providing valuable resources on the complex laws surrounding end of life. Led by Professors Ben White and Lindy Willmott their advice and research on VAD has been and will continue to be invaluable to the healthcare and legal sectors, policy makers and the community. Their team have recently produced a 10 episode podcast series featuring experts discussing their research on key aspects of VAD. You can access the “Learn Me Right - VAD Series” podcast here
Last but not least, we have a funding shortfall and hope you can help us
We have ended the year with a small financial loss and need just $7,500 to break even and ensure that we can fully implement our plans, now that the VAD laws are up and running in NSW. These include:
- Continuing our training sessions for volunteers to act as independent witnesses for people seeking to use VAD.
- Finding out which aged care providers in NSW will support their residents accessing VAD and creating an interactive map showing their positions.
- Creating a directory of End of Life Doulas and other professionals involved in end-of-life care who support VAD.
- Continuing our efforts to recruit more doctors to become VAD providers.
All donations, large or small, will make a difference to our ability to protect your end-of-life rights. As a registered charity, donations above $2 are tax deductible. Donate here
We hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and, as always, thank you for your continued support.
CEO, Dying with Dignity NSW