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What Matters Most for Older Australians

The What Matters Most resources are for older people using aged care services. They are designed to be used with health or aged care staff. They can help older people work out what would be right for them, if they were really sick or at the end of their life rather than waiting for a crisis to occur. The resources can be used to help health and aged care workers and the older person to have these important discussions with the person’s family and friends.

The resources include:

  • A Facilitator Guide that supports health and aged care workers to initiate conversations using the What Matters Most Discussion Starter and Cards with consumers of home, community, or residential aged care services.
  • The What Matters Most Discussion Starter with questions about the older person, about their health and about what they might want at the end of their life. The questions can be used by the health or aged care worker to guide the conversation with the older person as they explore What Matters Most to them.
  • The What Matters Most cards which can be used as prompts when working through the Discussion Starter or can be used as an ice breaker to get the person thinking about What Matters Most to them.

The What Matters Most resources were informed by feedback from the Care Compass study.

Care Compass Study

The Care Compass study discussion starter was designed to support people living with dementia to participate in discussions about what they might want if they were really sick or at the end of their life and was formally evaluated by the Australian Catholic University. The feedback showed:

  • The information was easy to understand.
  • People could look back at their answers to remind them what they said.
  • The resources could be used in both residential and community aged care settings.
  • The Discussion Starter would be good for all people receiving aged care services, including those living with dementia.

The Discussion Starter has now been updated to support all older people and their health or aged care team to work out What Matters Most for them.

Multilingual resources

The What Matters Most Discussion Starter and cards are available in the following languages:

A limited supply of hard copy resources and resource sets on USB are available for the price of postage by contacting Palliative Care Australia or phoning 02 6232 0700.


The Care Compass Study was funded by Australian Government through the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund.

Palliative Care Australia would like to thank the people living with dementia and their families, Dementia Australia, HammondCare, the members of the Steering Committee and all stakeholders that supported the initial study.

Useful links

Dementia Australia
Provides advocacy, support services, education and information for people of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

Dementia Australia’s Start2Talk

This website has helpful information about planning ahead for people living with dementia

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 (9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday).

Dementia Support Australia
A partnership led by HammondCare has a helpline for people living with dementia, their carers, families and friends.  1800 699 799 (24 hrs)

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC)
National specialist palliative care and advance care planning advisory service. This service comprises a comprehensive website and a telephone advisory service. These resources will equip care providers with skills and information to help older Australians receive high-quality end of life care in familiar surroundings with little or no need for hospitalisation.

Provides free online evidence-based information, practice guidance and resources on end of life and palliative care for aged care.

Supporting Decision-Making in Aged Care: A Policy Development Guideline for Aged Care Providers in Australia


VIEW the What Matters Most Discussion Cards

download the What Matters Most Facilitator Guide


See Connie's Story

National Palliative Care Service Directory

Search our directory of services to find specialist care providers near you.

If you're still looking for more information access our resources or contact us.

Discussion Starter

Supporting you to reflect on your values and your preferences for end-of-life care.

Complete discussion starter online

Download Discussion Starter

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