Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Tough Sell: Thanksgiving is a Time to Talk about End of Life Wishes.

Nobody likes to talk about death. The UPI reports that, in light of November being National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, families should use Thanksgiving to discuss end of life wishes.

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine offers assistance for such conversations to ensure death wishes are understood.

To help a family have end-of-life conservations:

-- Gather around a comfortable spot such as the living room or the dining room table.

-- Set aside a period of time, an hour should be enough, depending on how many family members participate.

-- Take turns discussing end-of-life wishes, including what level of treatment and whether every possible medical treatment should be performed, and when treatment should be stopped once quality of life is severely diminished, discussing quality of life means and whether resuscitation should be performed.

-- Discuss who should be a healthcare proxy, a person who will make medical decisions for a person who cannot.

-- Write end-of-life wishes down.

-- End-of-life issues should be discussed long before they need to be answered, and discussed more than once over the years.

To help prepare for an end-of-life discussion, such as developing an advance directive and designating a healthcare proxy see: http://www.aah



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