Enhancing community knowledge and engagement with law at the end of life

This project explores how and if members of the community understand and act upon their legal right to participate in decisions about medical treatment for themselves or for their loved ones at the end of life. Little is currently known about whether individuals know the law, or are able to exercise their legal rights to be involved in the process of making decisions about treatment.

This research will enhance patient and family decision-making through a better understanding of legal rights, powers and duties and will improve the experiences of patients and families at the end of life.

Key findings

To assist resource authors, we have developed an A3 poster outlining our key findings in relation to community resources about the law at end of life.

Read our recommendations (PDF file, 264.06 KB)


Funding / Grants

  • Australian Research Council Linkage Project


Other Team Members

External collaborators


Partner investigators

  • Doctor Deborah Lawson (Cancer Council Victoria)
  • Professor Jeffrey Dunn (Cancer Council Queensland)
  • Ms Angela Pearce (Cancer Council New South Wales)


We’re looking for terminally ill patients and family members aged 18 and above who are involved in medical end-of-life decision-making to complete an interview.

Why are we interviewing people?

We’re aiming to improve understanding of medical decision-making by people with a terminal illness and their decision makers, including what decision-making practices you use and what support would assist you to make decisions.

This research has been approved by the QUT University Human Research Ethics Committee, the University of Queensland Behavioural and Social Sciences Ethical Review Committee, the Cancer Council Victoria Human Research Ethics Committee and Cancer Council NSW Ethics Committee.

Who can participate?

We would like to interview you if you are in Queensland, Victoria or New South Wales and are either:

  • an adult patient with a terminal illness who is involved in your own medical decision-making
  • an adult family member of an adult with a terminal illness who has witnessed or been involved in medical decision-making.

What’s involved?

You will take part in a face-to-face, telephone or Skype interview at a time and location convenient for you. The interview will last for about an hour. To minimise any possible distress caused by talking about terminal illness and end of life, information on how to access counselling services will be offered.

How do I participate?

If you’d like to be interviewed, contact Michele Ferguson or phone +61 7 3365 2505.