End of Life Care: How to Start the Conversation

Monday, October 14, 2019

If you bring up the topic of end of life care, many individuals will tell you that they do not want their family burdened by making tough decisions when the time comes. Even though it certainly is not easy to discuss end of life care with a loved one, it is extremely important to talk about their wishes so you or an appointed family member can honor them. The most difficult task just getting the conversation started. End of life care focuses on the comfort and treatment an individual will receive (or not receive) at the end stages of their life and following through with all of their wishes.

Experts recommend having this conversation around the holidays when the family is the most likely to be together. Or you can also speak with your healthcare provider about your preferences and options for end of life care during a routine appointment. Discussing a care path or a change in the goal for care may be difficult for family members and close friends. Understandably, it may be frightening and can cause stress.

To help make this conversation easier, here are some items to consider when preparing to discuss plans for care with your loved one:

  • Do you plan on continuing to cure the illness/injury?
  • Do you prefer palliative or curative care?
  • How do you feel about an extended hospitalization such as nursing homes or even hospice care?
  • What decisions regarding care do you want to entrust to others, and who do you want to designate to make decisions?
  • Have you shared your care preferences with that person and taken the necessary steps to ensure he or she is recognized as the executor?

It is ideal to start the discussion about end of life care sooner rather than later. The United States’ health care system is designed to treat in the absence of a clear decision from the family, which means the system will offer an individual everything it has to offer. Depending on your loved one’s preferences, this may not be their desired course of treatment. After having the conversation, it is important to document his or her wishes for their end of life care and place it in a file for safekeeping. Having this discussion allows you to make the proper plans and grants your loved one’s wishes to be fulfilled.

If you need further advice regarding end of life care discussions, or you would like more information about enrolling your loved one into senior care services, call Concierge Care for your consultation today.

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