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The story of your life 

A Biography Service allows patients in palliative care to share and record their life story as they near the end of their life. Facilitated by volunteers, this unique program aims to create a positive affirmation of a life lived.

Biography volunteers work one on one with clients allowing them to tell their story. The process of storytelling enables messages, philosophies, beliefs, memories and culture to pass from one person to the next. Many clients also report a reduction in anxiety, depression, pain and breathlessness and an increase in self-esteem as a result of undertaking this.

Client biographies can take many forms: life stories, reflections, reviews of specific times or events, family stories, and tributes to loved ones. The volunteer records the client’s narrative during hour-long home visits. The average biography takes four sessions, but some as few as one or as many as six.

After each session, the volunteer transcribes the recording and edits into a word document. This can take up to four hours for each hour of voice recording. The completed biography is compiled, bound, and presented by the biographer and biography Team Leader to the client and/or caregiver.

Read more about how a Biography Service works.

For further information or to find out where a service may operate near you, please contact your local Palliative Care Service or The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Palliative Care on (08) 8243 0320.

“It’s not a medical model. It gives people their dignity back. Reflecting on the rich lives they have lived sometimes even helps them with their pain. It’s not just a distraction but it provides meaning.”

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