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Melbourne City Mission’s palliative care program is helping people with life-limiting illnesses to live as well as they can until the end.

We all know what it means to live well. From our younger days to the senior years, we spend our lives making plans to ensure we have a good life. But what happens when we reach the end of our days? Is it possible to also die well?

Ian Millard is a ‘midwife of the dying’, otherwise known as a palliative care clinical nurse specialist at Melbourne City Mission (MCM). “I support people to exit this life as well as possible,” he says.

He believes a good death is “the kind of death you choose”. While there are some aspects of death we can’t control, for people with life-limiting illnesses, quality palliative care provision can guarantee a great degree of choice.

MCM’s palliative care service – a 41-year-old community-based operation –maximises an individual’s end-of-life choices by meeting the dying where they are spiritually, physically and psycho-socially.

MCM’s palliative care service can last days or months. It involves a holistic care team of nurses, bereavement counsellors, social workers, massage therapists, doctors, and associated allied health therapists.

“The gold standard of palliative care is to offer those with life-limiting illnesses a service where they get to live well until they die, and then die in the place of their choosing,” Millard says.

“Research suggests that most people, when given a choice, want to die at home. However, it’s important to note that there are some people who don’t want to die at home. The main thing for us is to focus on what the client wants.”

MCM Palliative Care provided services for almost 1,000 clients who died in 2021-22, enabling 85% of this group to die in the place of their choice.

It shows the essential work conducted by MCM’s palliative care program, supported by Equity Trustees.

“The way someone dies is important for the person who is dying and the people they leave behind. As the saying goes, there’s no certainty in life except for death and taxes. Some people may avoid taxes but no one can avoid death. It’s something that every single one of us will experience so let’s do it as well as we can.”

MCM’s palliative care program relies on the generous donations of the community to operate. MCM welcomes future donations, including those associated with PAFs and gifts-in-wills, to enable the palliative care service to continue for another 41 years.

For more information about the Melbourne City Mission and to get involved visit:

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