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Continuing Education Course - Planning for Death

For immediate release:
4 April 2005

Continuing Education Course Looks at Planning for Death

The concept that planning for death is a “life-freeing experience” will be discussed at a short course being offered by The University of Auckland next month.

The seminar, entitled “Death Planning: Dying Choice by Written Voice” is being held by The University’s Centre for Continuing Education on Saturday May 7.

The course, which is open to the public, will look at what people can do to feel a greater sense of control over the dying phase of their lives.

Dr Kay Mitchell, a research fellow in the Department of Psychology, will discuss how people can plan for death, by making their wishes known and understood if, for any reason, they can no longer express them.

“The course will advocate three things – giving someone power of attorney over their body, writing a living will and preparing a ‘values history’,” says Dr Mitchell. “Preparing a values history is a gentle way of looking at a difficult issue, and is basically a record of the things in a person’s life that give value and meaning to that life”.

Dr Mitchell says approaching death is often complicated, because people tend to say different things to different people at different times in their lives.

“It is helpful if we can make our wishes known to the people who care about us, so that an informed decision can be made on our behalf if this becomes necessary at the end of life.

“It’s also useful to continually review the choices we make, because people often find that as they get older, or as an illness progresses, they can bear a lot more than what they had previously envisaged.”

Dr Mitchell says planning for death is important, and is always a collective decision made by the medical profession in consultation with a person’s family and significant others.

Dr Mitchell is a registered general and obstetric nurse, who has worked extensively in palliative care in New Zealand. She completed her PhD at The University of Auckland in 2002, which focused on medical decisions at the end of life that hasten death.

Course details:

When: Saturday May 7
Where: Room 13, Commerce A Building, 3A Symonds Street, Building No 114.
Time: 10am – 12 noon
Cost: $20
Pre-registration is essential as numbers for the course are limited.

For more information or to enrol in the course, phone 0800 UNICONTED (0800) 864 266) or go to:


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