Death Literacy

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Death Literacy is “the knowledge and skills that make it possible to gain access to, understand and act upon end-of-life and death care options”[i].

It’s the practical knowledge needed to plan well for end of life, for yourself or for people that you care for. This includes knowledge about:

  • what good end-of-life care looks like for individuals
  • what happens when someone dies,
  • what legal processes need to be followed,
  • who needs to be notified in the ACT,
  • who should be involved, and
  • what support is available at different stages.

Why Is It Important?

Death literacy recognises that everyone ultimately has a role in end of life and death care. Having knowledge about death and end of life issues helps us be prepared and make informed decisions, increases understanding of the dying process, reduces fear about death and dying, and helps improve palliative care and end of life support for consumers and their carers. Understanding death and dying is empowering for consumers and carers.

Raising the death literacy of a community will lead to better end of life care for everyone [ii].

You can find out more about end of life issues in the ACT from:


[i] Kerrie Noonan, Debbie Horsfall, Rosemary Leonard & John Rosenberg (2016) Developing death literacy, Progress in Palliative Care, 24:1, 31-35, DOI: 10.1080/09699260.2015.1103498

[ii]Palliative Care NSW

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Last Updated on 4 January, 2024.