How to start end of life planning

Educating yourself

To get started, you will want to understand the key treatments involved with care at the end of one’s life. You can review a guide that explains how to plan for this period. Using an end-of-life planning checklist can help you stay on track of your to-do list. The first thing on the list should be to understand more about the available treatments, so you can speak to your family and friends about what you desire. For example, if you knew you didn’t have much longer left, what would be the most important things to you?

Some people would want to go through a difficult treatment if it could extend their lives, but others may not want to since many aggressive treatments negatively affect the quality of life. Listen to your doctor, but also do your own research. Things like life support, CPR, and intubation can save someone’s life, especially if they are young and have a great chance of recovering. However, someone in the end stages of cancer or an older person may not benefit from these things. Instead, they can make the last few weeks or months of life miserable. And they might not prolong life much, if at all.

Communicating with others about your desires

It is never a pleasant subject to bring up, but you will want to speak with others about your wishes for your end-of-life planning. When you are healthy, it’s the best time to bring up what you want. Once you are in a medical crisis, you will not be able to speak on what you desire. If your desires or feelings change over time, don’t be afraid to speak up. Look for opportunities to speak about your desires. For example, if you know someone else going through a medical crisis, you might want to bring up what your family would do about these things.

Considering your desires on hospice

Someone who has a serious illness can benefit from hospice or palliative care. Even if you are not dying, you can benefit from this care if the illness is serious enough. Palliative care can help address symptoms like nausea, emotional turmoil over the illness, and nausea. A team of nurses, social workers, and doctors will coordinate to offer care based on your needs and goals.

The choice to receive palliative care could lead to hospice, but it might not. As your illness progresses, you can decide how you would like to proceed over time. Getting this care can improve your symptoms and chances of survival. Plus, it allows you to live a better quality of life. If you want to receive this type of care if you have an illness, now is the time to make your wishes known.

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