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The Victorian Population Health Survey is an important component of population health monitoring in Victoria. The annual survey is an ongoing source of quality information on the health and wellbeing of adult Victorians and is used to report trends over time for important health measures.

The survey provides timely information about the health status of the adult population. This information is used to inform evidence-based policy decisions about population health priorities across the Department of Health and the wider community.

In 2017, three questions were added to the survey questionnaire on end of life and palliative care. This was to gain an understanding of the uptake of end of life and palliative care plans in the community and to measure the informal support that is provided to people with life limiting Illness who were living at home.

Summary of findings:

End of life or palliative care plan

  • 72.9% of adults had no end of life or palliative care plan.
  • A significantly higher proportion of men (74.6%) did not have an end of life care or palliative care plan, compared with the proportion in women (71.2%).
  • One in five adults had made an end of life care or palliative care plan after consultation with their family. Most of these adults were 55 years of age or older.
  • Almost 8% of adults had a formal written end of life care or palliative care plan.
  • Men aged 65 years or older were more likely than men of any other age group to have made an end of life or palliative care plan after speaking with their general practitioner or other health professional.
  • Women aged 75 years or older were more likely than women of any other age group to have made an end of life or palliative care plan after speaking with their general practitioner or other health professional.

Informal support provided to people with life limiting Illness who were living at home

  • In the 12 months prior to the survey, 8% of adults provided support to someone who was living at home and was terminally ill or dying.
  • In the 12 months prior to the survey, there was no significant difference in the proportion of men (7.3%) and women (8.6%) who provided support to someone who was living at home and was terminally ill or dying.
  • A higher proportion of family members (78.2%), followed by friends or neighbours (18.2%) had provided companionship and comfort to someone who was terminally ill or dying.
  • A significantly higher proportion of people who provided some type of support to someone who was living at home and was terminally ill or dying were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders, and those who were widowed, divorced or separated or had never married.
  • The proportion of men, women and people who provided any support to someone who was living at home and was terminally ill or dying in the previous year, declined significantly with increasing total annual household income.
  • Of those who had provided support, the most common type of support provided was: ‘companionship and comfort’ (7.4%); ‘household care’ (6.3%); ‘assistance to attend medical and other appointments’ (5.8%); and ‘personal care’ (5.5%).

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Page last updated: 11 Oct 2021

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