End of life care is something we all face, yet too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, leaving loved ones feeling burdened, guilty, and uncertain. While we desire to have our health care wishes honored and not be a burden, many of us fail to have “the conversation” with loved ones about what those wishes are before treatment decisions must be made. By having and documenting “the conversation,” we can assure ourselves of a richer life where our treatment preferences are respected, where our loved ones are comforted in the knowledge that we will receive the care we desire, and where our caregivers can be empowered to provide that care in the most effective and compassionate manner possible.
Advance care planning can help the people close to you and those caring for you know what is important to you about the level of healthcare and quality of life you would want if, for some reason, you are unable to participate in the discussions. Having the conversation and writing down your wishes for future care will help the person you choose as your substitute decision maker to feel more comfortable about the decisions they make on your behalf.