SUE Hanson, the national manager of palliative care services at the Little Company of Mary Health Care, is a glass half-full kind of person.
Her reaction to a recent Palliative Care Australia survey, which said 45 per cent of people thought their families did not understand their end-of-life wishes, was to look on the bright side.
"There's another story here which for some reason hasn't been presented," Ms Hanson said. "And that is, it means more than half of people do think their family knows what they want.
"I wonder how useful it is to always be presenting in the negative, rather than promoting that indeed the majority of people surveyed were confident that they've sufficiently communicated their wishes."
Ms Hanson has worked in advanced care planning for many years.
That's the process of meeting the needs of a person whose life is ending.
She is based at Calvary Health Care, Kogarah.
She said the focus of health care professionals and the community was to ensure that people were supported in their end-of-life plans, especially if they wished to remain at home, rather than in hospital.
Ms Hanson said it was important to identify people sooner who were approaching that stage to help them start to plan.
Close to third (34 per cent) of the 1000 Australians surveyed online indicated they thought their end-of-life wishes would be ignored by relatives.
Only 8 per cent indicated they were "very worried" their final wishes would be ignored by health professionals.
Palliative care is care given to a person who has an active, progressive and far-advanced illness, with little or no prospect of cure.
The aim of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the patient, their carers and family.
Should people have an end of life plan in place?