Decisions about end-of-life care are deeply personal, and are based on your values and beliefs. Talking with your loved ones, friends and healthcare providers are all important steps to make your wishes known in case you cannot make decisions for yourself. Whether you want to talk about your own choices for end-of-life care or want to ask a family member or friend about their preferences, these conversations can help relieve loved ones and healthcare providers of the need to guess what the patient would want if a crisis occurs.
While it can be difficult to bring up these topics, the conversations can be an invaluable gift to those you love and those providing medical care. This information provided by the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization is divided into three parts:
In any of these cases, it is impossible to foresee every type of circumstance or illness; therefore, it is essential to think in general terms while making sure loved ones and care providers are aware of one’s priorities. Also, while having these conversations, consider discussing advance care plans
, which enable one to plan for and express end-of-life wishes in the event that the patient is unable to communicate.
Finally, make sure to reassess these decisions over time with follow-up discussions. It is important to review these issues and decisions, as personal health or circumstances in life might change – along with one’s views and choices.