End-of-life care is essential for those who are living with a terminal illness. This type of care includes a range of health-related support. End-of-life care services include pain management and the administration of medication, as well as emotional support in the form of counseling and therapy. It should also include preparations for the end of one’s life, which can be difficult to discuss with loved ones.
End-Of-Life Care Decisions
Having a clear plan that outlines one’s wishes can ease some of the strain on others during this time by ensuring that all major decisions are in place should they need to be enacted. Here are some end-of-life decisions to consider speaking with your loved one about.
Types Of Treatments
In most cases, there are a variety of available treatment options to consider during your end-of-life care. Consult your loved one’s doctor for information about the side effects, time commitment, cost, and other important information related to each treatment. The type of treatment chosen could also be influenced by where that care can be provided and your loved one’s preferences about where they live during this period. Many people with terminal illnesses choose to end their treatment in favor of a more comfortable few months or weeks at home. Discussing this possibility with loved ones can help make the decision easier.
CPR & DNR
Some people choose to forego extraordinary life-saving measures, including CPR, if they should be necessary toward the end of their lives. Medical professionals are typically required to administer CPR if it would keep a patient in distress alive, even if the patient would then need a ventilator to remain alive afterwards. It is therefore essential to have a “do not resuscitate” order, or DNR, in place if your loved one would prefer to avoid this possibility. Let loved ones know if a DNR order is in place, as calling emergency services without informing them of this order could create results that go against the patient’s wishes.
To further outline your loved one’s wishes for end-of-life care, consider writing a living will, which explains what type of care they would like to receive if they are no longer able to dictate that information themselves. This ensures that doctors and loved ones understand their preferences, helping them avoid the emotional toll of making those decisions themselves and trying to determine what your loved one would have asked for instead, which can be difficult. Preparing a living will provides everyone with a clear plan of action, ensuring that the patient receive the right type of care.
Location Of Passing
Thinking of the time of our passing is difficult, but taking the time to do so can ensure that when the time comes, we feel as comfortable as possible. Some people prefer to pass away in their own homes, surrounded by family and friends or with just a few loved ones. Others prefer being in the hospital. But some must be in the hospital because of the treatments they are receiving. Whichever your loved one chooses, planning this in advance can help ensure that they have everything they need to maintain a high quality of life and comfortable passing.
People nearing the end of their lives often want to say goodbye to old friends and other loved ones they may not have seen in a long time. Visits from loved ones can also provide comfort and happiness during a difficult period of one’s life or reassurance that one’s life has made a difference in some small way. Work with your loved one to create a list of people they would like to see, and let those people know that they are invited to visit whenever they are able.
Many people hope that once they pass, their loved ones will celebrate their lives instead of mourn. They may also like to be buried according to specific religious customs or other preferences. Speak with your loved one as soon as possible about their wishes for their funeral, and work with other family members to put together an appropriate funeral ceremony. Few people realize the huge amount of work that can go into organizing a funeral, so getting support early can help distribute tasks in a more manageable way.
Seeking Professional Support
Reach out to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about end-of-life care decisions or to speak to a professional for assistance in making some of these choices. Harbor Light’s teams of hospice caregivers, nurses, doctors, therapists, and social workers understand that the many decisions to be made at this time can be overwhelming. The care agency provides a variety of services, including counseling for patients and their families, to ease the strain and help families make the best choices alongside their loved one.