When a person’s health declines, it can be challenging to know their end-of-life wishes. Do they want comfort care or earthbound? Knowing the answers will help you decide how best to care for them in these last days of their lives.
End-of-life care can be a very confusing and even challenging subject to tackle. It is one that many people don’t like to think about, let alone talk about, but this will affect all of us – whether it is ourselves or our loved ones who need care. So when considering the best care options for an aging or terminally ill loved one, here are some key things to know.
There are many end-of-life care options available. You must consider your circumstances, needs, and the individual’s illness and medical condition. Whether you’re thinking about ending your life or assisting a loved one, you’ll undoubtedly encounter words and phrases that you aren’t familiar with, which might be daunting. Here’s what you need to know about end-of-life care choices.
1. Palliative care
One option you have is palliative care. It can be an suitable choice for people at the end of life, and it is the final treatment they will receive, which is a considerable choice. At the same time, chemotherapy or radiation therapy aims to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life.
Another option, which may be suitable for some people, is hospice care. This type of care delivers palliative care to those at the end of their lives – it does not aim to cure but to alleviate suffering and pain. People who choose hospice care may need to give up curative treatment to receive this type of care. But, it can be an excellent choice for those who do not want to undergo painful medical procedures.
One thing you will want to consider is the cost of care. Whether your loved one is in the hospital, at home, or even in assisted living facilities, the costs can be pretty high, especially if you are not prepared.
2. Should I prepare a living will?
One helpful thing you might choose to do is have a living will. This document lets you state your preferences while alive, so others know what type of care you would want to provide in different circumstances. A typical example of this is whether you want medical treatments if there is no hope for recovery or whether you would rather receive comfort care.
3. Should I prepare a ‘do not resuscitate’ order?
Another thing you might want to do is have a ‘do not resuscitate’ order in place. This process lets medical professionals know that if they find you unresponsive or unconscious, they should not administer CPR, even if beneficial. It can save you or a loved one additional pain and suffering, so you should talk to your doctor if you are interested.
4. Will I need to make medical decisions?
Finally, you might be wondering whether or not you will have to make any medical decisions. Suppose you are the one who is ill or injured. In that case, others will probably want to make confident decisions on your behalf – like whether or not to accept specific medical treatments. You may want to talk with your doctor, loved ones, and an attorney about what will happen if you cannot make your own decisions.
5. How can I make sure my loved ones are ready?
If you would like your loved ones to be informed, you might want to take the time to sit down with them and explain your preferences in a language they can understand. You might also want to provide them with a list of things to consider in case they are in a similar situation in the future.
6. Is there anything I should avoid asking for?
There are certain things you might want to avoid asking for. For example, suppose you have a disease such as mesothelioma. In that case, you might want to avoid putting “do not resuscitate” on your medical records. If the mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, this could be a sign that you were exposed to the toxin.
7. How do I make sure my wishes are followed?
In order to make sure your wishes are followed, you might want to have a conversation with the person in charge of your health care. This can help them understand your preferences – and will help you avoid any surprises for you or a loved one later on.
8. What if I am still in the hospital when I pass away?
In other circumstances, you might have a loved one who passes away while being treated at a hospital. If this happens, the staff will need to transfer your loved one back to their room if possible – and you might want to make arrangements with a funeral home ahead of time.
9. How can I help relieve the financial burdens on my loved ones?
The last thing you may want to do is think about how your passing will affect the financial situation of your loved ones. Suppose your mesothelioma or asbestos disease has been keeping you from working. In that case, it will likely be a challenge for them to pay for your treatment and care.
10. How can I make my loved one’s life easier?
Finally, you might want to choose a power of attorney or legal guardian. This is the person who can help your loved ones with your legal and financial affairs if you are no longer able to. While mesothelioma is a severe diagnosis, you might choose to fight the condition by considering palliative care as an option.
Have you ever had to make the tough decision of whether or not your loved one should live their final days in comfort versus being uncomfortable? It’s a tough choice that families often have no idea what they’re choosing because it rarely comes up.
At the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of what type of care your loved one would prefer at the end. You might also have a good deal of how you can help your loved ones financially. And if you are not ready to talk about it with them, you might have a few things to think about yourself.