Failing to plan is planning to fail: advance care directives and the Aboriginal people of the Top End

Eswaran Waran, Sharon Wallace and Jonathan Dodson-Jauncey
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00843
Published online: 15 May 2017

Advance care directives can enable Aboriginal people to fulfil their end-of-life wishes to die in their community

The United Kingdom’s great wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, once said “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”. These prescient words resonate for advanced care planning and end-of-life decision making.

  • 1 Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, NT
  • 2 Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 3 Territory Palliative Care, Northern Territory Department of Health, Darwin, NT


Competing interests:

Eswaran Waran is a member of the RDH steering committee on ACDs and the Aboriginal people of the Top End.

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  • 3. McGrath P. ‘I don’t want to be in that big city; this is my country here’: research findings on Aboriginal peoples’ preference to die at home. Aust J Rural Health 2007; 15: 264-268.
  • 4. Sajiv C. Cultural considerations when providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) opting for conservative care. Nephrology 2013; doi: 10.1111/nep.12080 [Epub ahead of print].
  • 5. Kelly L, Minty A. End-of-life issues for aboriginal patients: a literature review. Can Fam Physician 2007; 53: 1459-1465.
  • 6. SA Health. Advance care yarning. Respecting patient choices: advance care planning. Melbourne: Austin Health, 2010. (accessed Mar 2017).


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