There are topics that no one ever wishes to discuss. But when it comes to our loved ones we do only want the best, perhaps even especially at the end of their lives. Proactively thinking, when it comes to the end of life care, how much can we (and should we) plan?
The more planning that can be done ahead of time can ease stress and decision making later, at a time when it certainly won’t be the easiest. Here are some things to consider when it comes to making an end of life care plan.
End of life Care Plans
Types of Care
There may be many needs towards the end of life and trying to anticipate and plan for some of them will relieve stress now and later, for yourself and for your family members.
Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care
Palliative care focuses care on managing a long-term serious illness such as heart failure, anemia, cancer, etc. Hospice care is care focused on a patient’s end of life needs when a terminal illness is present and there is less than 6 months left to live.
See more on the differences, similarities, where (and how) care is provided and many more details here.
Further questions to ask yourself or your loved one:
- Do you have a preference to stay in your home as long as possible and/or pass in your home?
- Would you prefer to be in a long term care facility or in hospice care? Or to have a personal palliative care or hospice care worker come to the home?
How Much Care
Sometimes things in life happen quite suddenly and we don’t have time to make decisions that we just never got around to. Here are important some things to consider deciding now, as you may not have the opportunity later:
Do you wish to be resuscitated? If not or for more information, please research Do Not Resuscitate orders here.
Will you allow CPR to be used in attempt to save your life?
How do you feel about feeding tubes used to prolong life? In what situations would you say “yes” or “no”?
Ventilator usage near or at the end of life can be challenging for family members to agree on and this is an extremely personal decision. Do a bit of research and determine how you feel in advance of necessity.
Health Care Agents
It can be daunting to try and think of every possibility that may come up later in life, especially once we’re not well. To avoid these kinds of situations, one beneficial step in planning for end of life care is to appoint what is called a Health Care Agent (can also be known as a Health Care Power of Attorney). This person would have your explicit interests at heart when it comes time to communicate your end of life choices.
This person can be anyone in your close circle, who you trust and choose to clearly share your end of life plan with. Here are a few suggestions of who your end of life Health Care Agent could be:
- Pastor/member of church
- Family member
- Close friend
Your doctor cannot be your Health Care Agent, and there are state specific ways of making this a legal formality. It’s not complicated and you can find out more about Health Care Agents here.
Organ donation is a highly personal decision and can change or even save the life of someone in need. Contributions can include a number of things:
- Heart valves
Whether we choose organ donation or not, this decision is best made ahead of time. Click here to find out more information about organ donation or to register as a donor.
If you’re planning for your own end of life care, let these questions help prompt you into what you may need to consider to make that portion of your life easier, not only on yourself, but those who love you.
If you’re contemplating end of life care conversations with someone you love, these questions may provide a good starting place for what can be a difficult, yet extremely valuable conversation.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
*No information in this article is to be taken as advice, medical or otherwise. This post is not sponsored, but may contain external links to websites, articles or product examples. External links are used for example or refence purposes only and these links do not indicate specific product or website endorsement by CareGivers of America.