You may meet with reluctance to start the planning process – end-of-life care and death are topics that most people like to avoid. Even physicians are often uncomfortable starting conversations about this topic. Likewise, families are often hesitant to have conversations with their loved ones about their care preferences. No one can make someone do what they are not ready or willing to do, but you can plant the seeds by showing them the real advantages to early planning and the potential dire consequences to putting it off.
Step One: Get the information you need to understand what care options are available in your community and the type of services they provide. Hospice care can be provided in conjunction to most other care options. You can contact a member of our hospice team at 210-444-2244 to request additional information about hospice and each of the care environments listed below.
Care options that you should be informed about include:
- In-home care giver
- Home Health Care
- Continuous Care Retirement Communities
- Group Homes
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
Step Two: Talk with your loved ones about your thoughts and concerns. Encourage them to share their wishes for end of life care. Because we are living longer, loss of memory and impaired mental status is becoming a much more common problem.
Having conversations about our care preferences can decrease the chance of future family conflict and lessens the burden of making decisions on your loved ones. Early decision making also allows the patient to be more confident that their choices are known and will be honored when the time comes.
If you are uncomfortable having an end-of-life conversation with your loved ones, you may want to consider asking an objective third party lead the discussion. Your faith leader, an attorney, or a hospice social worker are possible options. Sometimes having a third party involved opens the door and allows you and your loved one to talk more frankly and openly about your individual wishes.
Step Three: Complete written Advanced Directives (Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, etc) that clearly spell out your care choices. It is also a good idea to talk to your physician about your medical condition, your preferences and get their recommendations. This will help insure that the two of you are on the same page when a significant change in your health condition occurs. Should you choose to enter hospice care; the hospice social worker can assist you with paperwork needed for Advanced Directives and answer your questions.
Step Four: Be certain that you have copies of your completed Advanced Directives in an accessible place – keeping your only copy in a safety deposit box is NOT a good idea! It IS a good idea to give copies of your directives to your physician, your family and anyone else who might be involved in your healthcare.
Step Five: Discuss your choices with your family and healthcare providers on a routine basis. Remember – you can always make changes to your Advanced Directives.
Step Six: As part of your end-of-life planning, consider developing a written document expressing your burial and memorial service preferences. If you have a burial policy, place this with your funeral planning document and make certain that your family knows where these records are located. Your loved ones will appreciate knowing that they are following your wishes as they remember and celebrate your life.
Please fill out our contact us form or call us at 210-444-2244 to learn more about how Hospice Partners can help you and/or your loved ones, today.