Why You Should Discuss End of Life Wishes
End of life is as much a part of life as birth or graduating high school or getting that first big promotion. Yes, end of life situations can be sad or difficult or even arrive sooner than expected, but we believe that talking openly about one’s wishes for care during those final days is an important conversation.
In fact, we encourage our residents, hospice patients and our own loved ones to have this conversation early with family or friends and a primary care physician. While this conversation might seem scary, it can actually help one’s last days of life to be lived with dignity and perhaps even joy, rather than doubt or fear.
Discuss what you’d like those last hours and days to feel like, where you’d like them to be, and whom you’d like to have present. Very few people would say they would like to be alone in a hospital, hooked up to machines or in pain.
Detailing last wishes helps to determine how both you and your physician(s) treat an end of life situation. It is also helpful to read great articles like this one from Dr. K.V. Scruggs, who details the exact research (and the many myths) behind a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
We strongly recommend this article to our residents, hospice patients and loved ones who are having discussions about how they would like to approach end of life. Dr. Scruggs not only carefully explains the science behind some end of life measures, she lovingly encourages—from a doctor’s perspective—families to envision the best scenario to help each individual truly celebrate life’s journey.