Living Wills and Other Advance Directives

Posted by Dr. El - October 15, 2009 - End of life - 4 Comments

One of our dear cats is very sick. This prompted a family discussion about how much care to provide him, and led to a talk about our own wishes should we become ill.
I recently read a post on WiseHands, a massage therapy and hospice blog, about how working with people who are dying can change the way we feel about death. Part of my job as a nursing home psychologist is to help people prepare for death, and it took time for me to grow comfortable with this. I find my patients usually welcome the opportunity to discuss treatment decisions and dying, but sometimes it takes several attempts before they are fully ready to talk about it. I imagine it would be the same for family members trying to have similar conversations.
The CBS News article, Some Nursing Home Elderly Get Futile Care, emphasizes the importance of having end-of-life discussions. For those interested in preparing living wills and advance directives, the Mayo Clinic has an informative website to get you started.