Making Your Wishes Known About End-Of-Life Care Helps Ensure Those Wishes
Starting the conversation
Talking about death and dying with family members can be awkward, but it
doesn’t have to be.
“Conversation starters can be as easy as, ‘Hey Mom, I read
this interesting article in the Orange County Catholic that says every
family should do advance care planning,’” says Dr. Byock.
Topics to cover include burial or cremation, organ donation, the use of
dialysis or CPR during the end stage of life. The Institute for Human
Caring website (providence.org/institute-for-human-caring) provides a
sample advance care directive form with questions to consider. Another
source is the Conversation Project (theconversationproject.org), which offers conversation prompts and topics to cover in many languages.
“Illness is highly personal,” says Dr. Byock, “so ‘the
best care’ is not just the state-of-the-art treatment, but includes
highly personalized attention to each patient’s worries, priorities
and deepest concerns, as well as concerns of their family.”
His hope is that the subject becomes commonplace. “We want to normalize