How far should doctors go to prolong life? Why are so few people who wish to die at home able to do so? And how can we plan for our final days before a crisis emerges? Intensive-care specialists Charlie Corke (Letting Go) and Ken Hillman (A Good Life to the End) examine these questions in their important books about end-of-life care. They join ABC RN’s Geraldine Doogue to discuss ways to improve the inevitable journey through ageing and death.

Supported by Bupa Health Foundation.

Charlie Corke (Australian)

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Charlie Corke is one of Australia’s leading Intensive Care Specialists and is currently President of the College of Intensive Care of Australia and New Zealand. He undertook medical training at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London before completing advanced training as a physician. He then trained as an anaesthesist. Finally he completed a third specialty program and commenced a career in intensive care. After working in Hong Kong, Charlie came to Australia, initially as Director of Intensive Care at the Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne. In 1991 he moved to become Director of Intensive Care in Geelong. In 2008 he stepped down as Director but continued in a specialist role while continuing his diverse medical interests. Charlie is regional clinical lead for the Advance Care Planning program and is the originator of the MyValues approach to advance care planning. Charlie lectures widely on medical communication and end-of-life decision-making and was featured on the ABC in the film In the End and is a regular contributor to radio. He has written Letting Go to help understanding of the complexities associated with end-of-life decision-making. He describes it as 'a stat nav for for the bumpy bit at the end'.

Ken Hillman (Australian)

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Professor Ken Hillman is a practising intensive care specialist who is a Professor of Intensive Care at the University of New South Wales, the Foundation Director of The Simpson Centre for Health Services Research, and a member of the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research. He trained at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney and worked in London for six years before returning to Australia as Director of Intensive Care at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney. Professor Hillman is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the introduction of the Medical Emergency Team, which recognises and responds to seriously ill hospital patients early in their deterioration and has been adopted in the majority of hospitals in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and several European countries. He is also a passionate advocate of improving the management of the dying patient in acute hospitals. His latest book, A Good Life to the End describes real life cases that he has been involved with as examples of how otherwise well meaning clinicians assume that people near the end of life want to have the most heroic measures in order to gain a few more weeks/months of life. The book also describes how we age; dementia; how to choose a good hospital or doctor; and how to make sure your choices about how you want to be treated are documented in the most effective ways.

Geraldine Doogue (Australian)

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Geraldine Doogue is a renowned Australian journalist and broadcaster, host of ABC RN's Saturday Extra and ABC Television’s Compass. She has won two Penguin Awards for excellence in broadcasting from the Television Society of Australia and a United Nations Media Peace Prize. The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women in Power is her first book. Geraldine collaborates with her daughter Eliza on a new podcast, Long Distance Call.