July 17, 2013

Start the Discussion about End-of-Life

The conversation about end-of-life is a difficult one, especially when the caregiver must broach the subject with their parent or loved one. As the caregiver, you may be in denial about your parent approaching end-of-life. This is something you will need to accept before you can discuss it with your aging parent.

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The end-of-life discussion has three main components, where do your loved ones want to be when they die, health care power of attorney and the living will. These three topics will provide you with the essential details so that you may give your parents everything they need in order to die comfortably.

Details of End-of-Life

Discussing how and where your parents want to die is important because honoring their last wishes will leave no room for regret. Ask them where they would like to spend their last days and with whom they want to be surrounded. If they have already been admitted to hospice services, part of their hospice benefit is the option of a volunteer or a chaplain. If you need help with caregiving duties, the hospice volunteer may be helpful. If your parents are seeking meaning in their life, the chaplain may be the better option since he or she will provide spiritual guidance.

Living Will

The living will specifies the details about your parents’ wishes regarding medical treatment. If your parents have been admitted to hospice, most likely their living will includes details about refusing curative care and opting for treatment of symptoms in order to remain comfortable.

Health Care Power of Attorney

Your parents will appoint someone they trust to act on their behalf and make decisions in their best interests regarding medical treatment.