In this episode I share my thoughts on how to approach the very difficult task of making an end-of-life decision about the treatment a loved one should receive. Many people are called upon to be decision-makers in these challenging situations and this episode serves as a guide for choosing the best option for someone we love. Download the handout below:
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Download the handout here:
Every day families are called upon to make nearly impossible decisions about the type of care a loved one should receive as they near the end of life. Here are some suggestions for how to navigate this challenging situation when there is no advance directive available for guidance:
- Gather medical information from all healthcare providers involved in care
- Ask direct questions:
- What is the diagnosis and what complications have occurred?
- What is the effectiveness of the recommended treatment?
- What are the chances for recovery or improvement?
- Are there side effects from the treatment or will it cause additional suffering?
- What will happen if treatment is stopped?
- What would you do if this were your loved one?
- Get expert advice and guidance from a palliative care team if available in your hospital
- Remember past conversations with your loved one that might give you clues as to his or her preferences for the end of life
- Consider the statistics that most Americans prefer to die at home and most do not want aggressive treatment to prolong life in the face of an incurable condition
- Ask your loved one for guidance by expressing your concern and your desire to make the best decision. Even though your loved one cannot verbalize, they can hear you – listen for any intuitive or “felt” guidance that might come to you about the best choice to make.
- Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you have done your best in a challenging situation
- Seek support from others outside your family
Tune in next week for another episode! Share this content with others who might it helpful and consider leaving a review on iTunes.
Until next time …