5. Open and respectful communication

Support effective conversations with the person, their family and carers

Communication that is open, respectful, culturally safe and agreeable enables effective conversations regarding expectations with the person, their family and carers. This ensures coordination of care is maintained with both internal and external care providers who commonly collaborate on End of life and palliative care. This type of communication centres around empowering the patient, their family and carers.


Processes are in place to provide the person, their family and carers with clear, health literate and appropriate information regarding available care, and how it may be provided. This includes setting expectations of the roles of care providers, the individual, families and carers. Considerations of cultural and linguistic needs is also recommended.


Open and respectful communication is important to improve the experience of the person with life-limiting illness, their family and carers.

Considerations and resources

Communication training tools, such as eLearning module SHAPE End of Life Conversations and Teach-back, can be used for end of life and palliative care discussions and planning, including discussing advance care directives and NSW Ambulance Authorised Palliative Care Plans.


Case Conferencing

Tools and resources to increase communication between patient, carer and the multidisciplinary team.

PalliAGED | Toolkit | 2020

Clinical practice guidelines for prognostic and end-of-life communication by health care professionals with patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses, and their caregivers

Developed to address prognostic and end-of-life communication by health professionals, with key evidence-based recommendations.

The Medical Journal of Australia | Clinical tool | 2007

Last Days of Life: Information for patients and families

Assists with the provision of information and support to patients and families in the last days of life.

Clinical Excellence Commission | Toolkit | 2020

Last Days of Life Toolkit: PREPARED model - a guide for clinicians for conversations about the last days of life

A guide for clincians to have quality, informative conversations with patients and families about the last days of life.

Clinical Excellence Commission | Toolkit | 2020

NSW Paediatric Palliative Care Programme

Provides information for patients, families and health professionals who care for a child with a life-limiting illness.

Sydney Children's Hospital Network | Toolkit | 2021

SHAPE End of Life Conversations - eLearning module

Provides a step by step communication framework for clincians to conduct effective end of life conversations with patients, families and carers.

Health Education and Training Institute | Educational | 2019


Simple, effective communication tool to check understanding of health terms and concepts, to assist with health literacy.

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Deakin University and University of Melbourne | Educational | 2018

What are 'end of life care' and 'palliative care'?

Basic explanations of the terms 'end of life' and 'palliative care' for patients, carers and health professions

NSW Ministry of Health | Information | 2020

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