March 2023 Update



VAD Resources

Most members of DWDQ are already no strangers to loss. And yet, we’re often at a loss what to do and say when someone dies – even when that death has been planned and talked about, as in voluntary assisted dying. If you are the family, friend, contact person or carer of some-one choosing VAD, there is a helpful new resource from the Queensland VAD team: When some-one dies: a practical guide for families and friends of a person who has chosen voluntary assisted dying.

This short booklet is written in calm, reassuring language. It takes family and friends through the many tasks and decisions that have to be tackled after someone dies, whether this is at home or in a hospital or aged care setting. It encourages everyone, the family and the person choosing VAD, to talk together, to help plan ahead and have some key things in place: a valid Will, a funeral plan, taking steps to close online and bank accounts… so many practicalities. Not to forget the plans for one last picnic together, or a wander round the garden….   

There’s comforting reassurance that a death from VAD is not an emergency. There is no need to rush after the death, you can sit for a while by the bedside, and ensure everyone has had the time they need. There’s acknowledgement that grief is unique and individual. The families of people who’ve chosen VAD have often remarked how calm the process has been. Often they’ve just felt overwhelming relief.

The booklet is written in short, easy to read sections.

  • Preparing for death: the conversations and planning you can do in advance and together, gathering personal information, making any special wishes clear, thinking about what you’d like to happen on the day 
  • First steps: what happens soon after a person dies: who will sign a life extinct form and issue a cause of death certificate, any special rituals that should happen, contacting a funeral director
  • What you can do next: All the many practicalities you have to deal with, e.g. notifying agencies and closing accounts
  • Grief: the many ways grief may affect you, and how to take care of yourself
  • Support serviceswhere you can find information, who you can speak to, about practicalities and emotional support
  • Tasks and contact list: a really helpful tear-out section listing all the key information you will need and all the many agencies who should be contacted.  

There’s a companion booklet for First Nations people: During sad news and sorry business: information for families

Voluntary Assisted Dying clinician series

New on the VAD Implementation team website are four video clips, interviews with doctors and nurses who’ve been involved in providing voluntary assisted dying to patients interstate. They all spoke eloquently at the Queensland VAD Implementation Conference in October 2022. It’s heartening to see their commitment to this new role. It was challenging at first and now, in the words of Dr Clare Fellingham, W.A., “deeply moving and meaningful.”  

DWDQ out and about

The DWDQ Executive had some very productive meetings in February/March.

We’re fortunate to have ongoing contact with the Clem Jones Group, who were so instrumental in campaigning for the new Queensland VAD law. We were joined by Prof. Ben White of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at QUT, a critical researcher in this field and deeply involved in VAD law reform across Australia.  Our Queensland law will be up for review in early 2026. This seems a long way away! But it’s worth taking notes now, so we are ready to make submissions when the time comes.

We also met with members of the QVAD Support Service in their welcoming office space in metro south Brisbane. They’ve been responding to enquiries from all across the State. It was so helpful to meet face to face with this highly skilled and supportive team who’ve been appointed to implement this new law. We know that many families have appreciated their key role in making voluntary assisted dying a reality.

If you have any questions or any need for information – the QVAD Support & Pharmacy Service are there to resource and support you at every step: 

Opening hours: 8:30am-4pm, Monday to Friday

Phone: 1800 431 371

Email: [email protected]

And you can always get in touch with DWDQ:

Phone: 1300 733 818

Email: [email protected]