April is Advance Care Directive Month, an important topic Transitions Hospice wants you to talk about and understand. It’s never easy to talk about end of life care with your loved ones, but it is one of the most important conversations you can have.
It may help to think about the conversation in terms of preparing for your future, for both yourself and your loved ones. You are not only ensuring your wishes will be carried out, but you are also removing future burden from loved ones who will be left to make decisions about your care should you not be able to speak for yourself. You will be giving them peace of mind by allowing them to take comfort in knowing they fulfilled your wishes.
Often having a successful conversation about the end-of-life comes from the “why” behind your wishes. This type of understanding can only come from open and honest conversation as well as truly considering your own wishes then making those wishes known.
Here are ten tips to help make the end-of-life conversation a bit easier:
- Ask your doctor to be honest with you and your family about your prognosis.
- Ask your doctor to explain any treatment options and procedures you find confusing.
- Share your thoughts about quality of life and what in life is important to you.
- Talk about pain control and symptom management options, letting them know your preference between relief of pain verses alertness.
- Give your doctor a copy of your completed Advance Directives. Make sure your doctor is willing to follow your Directives.
- Consider your values, beliefs, and views about what matters in life.
- Pick the right moment to start the conversation with your loved ones. Pick a time when your loved one has time to talk and focus only on the conversation you want to have.
- Give them a reason for why you decided to talk about this now. For instance, “Aunt Sue being in the hospital made me think about my own wishes.”
- Giving your loved ones some insights on the ‘why’ behind your choices allows them to understand more deeply your decisions. They will have an easier time understanding your wishes if you begin by sharing your personal beliefs and values. Sharing what matters to you and why will help bring perspective and acceptance.
- It can be more than one conversation to express your wishes. This is an important topic so it may take time to cover everything you wish to consider in your future care and for your loved ones to be open to discussing a future when they must face losing you.
Make Your Wishes Known
Each of us has the right and ability to make our wishes known. By allowing our healthcare providers and our loved ones to know what we want, you’ll ensure the right decisions are made at a time when family may be wondering what you would have wanted. Also, remember the support hospice care brings, when the time comes that a cure may no longer be possible or you have grown tired of curative treatments that are no longer helping, you may want to discuss the option of hospice with your loved ones. Helping them to understand that hospice is not about giving up but about helping you focus on quality of life will help them realize your true goals and free them from unnecessary guilt and misunderstandings.
Our Advance Care Consultants Are Here To Help
Please reach out to our Advance Care Consultants for additional information and resources on having this important conversation with your loved ones. Remember, help is always a call away. We’re here to provide answers, resources and options. Call us today at 417.777.2703.