Doctors call for ‘death education’ in schools
QUEENSLAND doctors have called for "death education" in schools to remove any stigma or taboo associated with dying.
The AMA Queensland's chair of general practice, Dr Richard Kidd, said Australia's ageing population meant that the onus of end of life care was increasingly being placed onto younger generations.
"Young people need to be educated about medical, legal and other issues that surround ageing and dying so they are capable of making informed choices when the time comes," he said.
"In many families, death is a bit of a taboo topic that only gets discussed at crisis points.
"Death education at school would help remove any stigma."
Dr Kidd said including death education in school subjects like science, legal studies and health would help young Queenslanders develop a better understanding of the issue.
He also suggested that people should be creating advance care plans from adolescence.
"We've seen sad cases of young men getting terrible injuries playing sport and it would have helped their families and doctors enormously if they knew how he wanted to be cared for in his last days," he said.
"Young people will also need to know how to make a will."
Palliative Care Queensland chief executive Shyla Mills said death education at school would help build resilience in young people around issues of loss, ageing, dying and grief.
"They will be far more likely to be involved in the dying process of their relatives, work colleagues and friends than previous generations," she said.
"They will need to be very resilient, more compassionate and develop a positive, proactive approach to death."