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Liz and Ian Tantau (VMCH)

Liz Tantau is still grieving the loss of her husband of 20 years, Ian, but she’s determined to help people understand the importance and significance of the end-of-life journey.  Source: Melbourne Catholic.

“Palliative care isn’t here to help you die – it’s here to help you live your best life possible,” Mrs Tantau said.

This week (May 21-27) is National Palliative Care Week, which aims to increase understanding of the many benefits of palliative care.

After months of palliative care at home, Mr Tantau spent the last four weeks of his life at O’Neill House, a specialised, end-of-life comfort care centre in Prahran, Melbourne, before he died in November 2022.

The award-winning O’Neill House, run by Catholic aged and disability organisation VMCH, offers a modern, luxurious and home-like environment for up to 22 people entering the last phase of their life, and their families.

Mrs Tantau described O’Neill House as a “beautiful place”, where she and Mr Tantau’s family were welcomed and supported with “open arms”. Family and friends were free to visit at any time, and immediate family were able to stay overnight with Ian in his room. In addition, an onsite apartment ensured someone was with Ian constantly in his final days, which the family found incredibly comforting.

This year’s theme for National Palliative Care Week is “Matters of Life and Death” and highlights the people at the heart of quality palliative care.

VMCH CEO Sonya Smart says experiences like the Tantaus’ are exactly the reason why VMCH chose to embark on this specific service offering.

“We know around one in four Victorians who die each year do so without adequate access to palliative care, so we’ve been privileged to support more than 100 people and their families in their end-of-life journey at O’Neill House. We’re also focused on advocating for palliative-care planning to help ensure people’s last experiences of life are ones of comfort, dignity and choice.”


Palliative care – living and dying well (Melbourne Catholic)