The medicalisation of dying from natural causes: unacceptable to patients, low-value for the health system

Magnolia Cardona, Sally Greenaway

Research output: Contribution to journalMagazine ArticleResearch


Australians can now expect to see their ninth decade. In 2017 Australia had 3.5 million people 65 years or more who will become octogenarians, a figure doubling by 2050. But many people in their last years can expect some degree reduced physiological reserve, irreversible organ failure, cancer, and/or disability from other chronic illnesses and frailty. And many will die of natural causes. Unfortunately the health system is offering over-treatments to prolong living but that will not make a difference to prognosis and can potentially impair patients' quality end of life.
This article summarises several strategies to prevent unnecessary overtreatment of older Australians to help them achieve a natural death without generating unacceptable suffering and unsustainable costs to the health system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-36
Number of pages3
JournalThe Health Advocate
Issue number54
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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