Despite end-of-life-issues being difficult for anyone to talk about, the more we have the conversation, the more thoroughly we’ll understand our options and learn how to communicate our wishes and those of our loved ones.
At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we lobby for our patients’ wishes. As difficult as it is to share personal concerns, values and spiritual beliefs, sometimes it can be as helpful as talking about specific treatments and circumstances.
As a patient, voicing choices with your loved ones can help ensure personal wishes are followed. And as a caregiver, speaking up for the patient in your care can help their final days be as comfortable as possible.
Gathering the courage to make personal decisions can be frightening for many. The hardest part is acknowledging this and finding out where to start. Keep these three points in mind:
When caring for a patient in hospice while making their final decisions, start with helping them answering the following questions:
Remember, the patient is the boss. Their end-of-life wishes can be changed as often as they want, and as long as they're considered competent and capable of consenting to the treatment. With certain conditions, "competence" can change from hour to hour.
Having these conversations "before the crisis" is much easier, and much more valuable to the patient and their family. If people can begin to talk about the end of life while people are still healthy, it will help their families understand hopes and fears around illness and dying as well as cope with inevitable loss.
Despite being difficult, the end of life can also be amazingly rich. Learning, insight and love are possible to the last breath, and beyond.
If you're ready to start the dialogue about end-of-life wishes and care, consider downloading our guide today. We're available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at (513) 770-0820.