Where to go to increase your end-of-life literacy

Aug 26, 2021 | Advance Care Planning, ExSitu News

Looking for ways to increase your end-of-life literacy levels? Check out this guide to places you can go to discover more about the innovations currently happening in Australia.

We’re exploring the innovations, community-led programs and interesting movers and shakers in the Australian end-of-life literacy scene. Check them out.


Planning for end-of-life and even the decades before end of life occurs is made easy with ExSitu. ExSitu gives you the opportunity to articulate what matters to you most via the Hierarchy of Values. This information then helps create a granular map and inform what are appropriate choices when it comes to your care.

The Advance Care plan that articulates your treatment needs and what lines in the sand you draw when it comes to pain, treatment and quality of life. It also helps you make decisions about what life before, during and after the end-of-life stages look like.

By choosing ExSitu, you can have meaningful yet simple conversations about what treatment does and doesn’t work for you. And make sure your needs are met, even when you lose the ability to communicate for yourself at any stage.

Use our products to broach the subject of care, death, dying and see the end-of-life literacy grow with each passing conversation.

Groundswell Project

The Groundswell Project has been increasing Australia’s death literacy for years. The Groundswell Project activates the healthcare industry, neighbourhoods and workplaces on a community-led or ‘groundswell’ level. It’s about activating your neighbourhoods, networks and knowledge to improve how people in Australia die, care and grieve.

Curious to know more about death literacy and what they do? Check out The Groundswell Project now.

Tender Funerals

Tender Funerals is a not-for-profit funeral service delivering personalised, meaningful and affordable funerals, ensuring those experiencing financial hardship are able to access these critical services.

Tender Funerals is a not-for-profit funeral service. They run as a community venture to operate in ways, so funerals do not leave community members with large debt. They also run informal grief services such as choirs, sewing circles and other gatherings to help people come to terms with grief in their own way – all while knowing they are part of a wider, supportive community.

And the interesting thing is, even if you don’t have a Tender Funerals in your area, you can apply to set one up! It’s about community supporting community.

You can find out where Tender Funerals are available and what they do now.

The Death Literacy Index

The Death Literacy Index (DLI) is a way to understand more about the skills, experience, social actions, and knowledge about death, dying, care-giving and loss in a community, population or a group of people.

It also has great resources and information to help you improve your end-of-life literacy.

Jump in and check it out!


The caring@home project and its extension for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families (2017 – 2023) is funded by the Australian Government and led by the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative. These projects aim to improve the quality of palliative care service delivery for all Australians by developing resources to support carers and families to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines for a person at home.

Go to the caring@home website to find out more and download free resources.

Compassionate Communities Network

Compassionate Communities Network aims to promote and integrate social approaches to dying, death and bereavement in the everyday life of individuals and communities. End-of-life literacy within the community is a key part of why they do the work they do.

This is done through promoting practices, asking for practices to end up as policy, and creating and connecting partnerships that support community capacity building and resilience. It also means understanding culturally diverse communities and creating healthy environments for end-of-life.

As an informal group, Compassionate Communities Network want to normalise and make accessible palliative care services and approaches. And they welcome all kinds of people from all walks of life to help inform end-of-life to make it so.

You can find out more about Compassionate Communities Network via their website.

Natural Grace

While Natural Grace is a for-profit funeral service operating in Victoria, they have some really interesting innovations we should all be sitting up and taking notice of.

For example, Natural Grace help people to have their family members die at home. They can support you to keep the body in the home for longer. This is facilitated through hiring cooling plates for the body as well as offering varying degrees of advice and support to improve your end-of-life literacy and skills. This means at home deathcare such as washing, preparing and readying the body can occur.

They also actively promote family-led funerals. This means the baton moves from costly celebrants and unnecessary funeral directors to the family. You can select from a range of ‘per item’ costed items to help you create a funeral that reflects your loved one. It also gives you the opportunity to involve the family while bypassing thousands of dollars in the process.

Natural Grace operate in the Macedonian Ranges, Melbourne and other parts of Victoria.

Go Gentle Australia

Instigated by Andrew Denton after seeing his father, Kit, suffer, Go Gentle Australia is a campaign to give all Australians the choice to access Voluntary Assisted Dying. Through the work of Go Gentle Australia, VAD has now become a reality in Victoria and Western Australia, with it passing in South Australia and Tasmania to be enacted in 2022 or 2023.

Each state must change the law to give all Australians access to this dignified choice. With regulation, safeguards and ensuring benchmarks are met to administer it, Voluntary Assisted Dying is giving people with terminal diagnosis options when it comes to unceasing and intolerable pain.

If you support VAD, you can sign up at Go Gentle Australia.

Death Cafés

Started by the late Jon Underwood, Death Cafes have a very simple idea in mind- let’s get everyone talking in open, honest terms about death.

This simple idea has grown right across the globe to feature as regular monthly events through to a whole slew of events to coincide with August’s Dying to Know month activities.

The premise of Death Cafes is that everyone is welcome to speak in equal terms. They actively shy away from presentations and talks to focus on getting real conversation between real people happening. Creating space for honest reflection and creating a web of support on an equal footing is the aim.

You can find out how to run your own Death Café event via their website.

Community Coffin Club

Ever wanted to know what it might be like to build a coffin? Now you can with the Community Coffin Club! Part making ever so costly coffins affordable, part giving people the opportunity to personalise their coffin and all about opening up dialogue about death and dying, Community Coffin Clubs are growing in popularity in Australia.

They give people a unique ability to apply hands on and creative skills to make a meaningful, individual yet ultimately practical connection to end-of-life.

You can find Community Coffin Clubs in the Central Coast NSW and in Ulverstone Tasmania…so far.

Before I die

to help promote end-life-life literacy giant walls with chalk and the phrase 'before i die' stand in the street for people to answer.

Photo by Anastase Maragos. Wall located in Gibsons, BC, Canada.

What began as a way for artist Candy to express her grief over losing a friend in New Orleans has become an international art installation with a profound impact. The Before I Die chalk art walls took a simple phrase on an abandoned building and gave millions of people chance to express themselves.

A chalkboard with a simple question, it has seen people wish for everything from equality in their lifetime to find love. And it’s opened up many more conversations about what it means to experience a life worth living.

Before I die has a permanent wall in Townsville and Adelaide. It has also had a touring show through the likes of regional New South Wales.

But the beauty of the concept lies in the simplicity. Anywhere can be painted with chalkboard paint and transformed to become a life-defining, inspiring art installation.


Want to know more about death and dying in Australia? Join the growing number of people embracing this all-important conversation – and check out more content on the ExSitu blog now.

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