4 weeks ago

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Advance directives—clearly defined decisions and preferences for a multitude of end-of-life scenarios—are a tough topic of discussion. Who wants to think about one’s self or loved one approaching the end of their life, let alone talk about it? But here’s why it matters: dying is a chapter of our lives as important as, if not more than, any other. We can make clear decisions to make that journey more peaceful and dignified, and that is priceless for both the individual and their families.

There are a variety of important decisions that may come up during someone’s end-of life-journey: Resuscitate or not? Life-sustaining treatments or not? Who would make medical decisions for you if you cannot? Additional topics can include how and when hospice care should be accepted, organ donation, burial vs. cremation, and wishes for a service or life celebration. If these preferences have not been discussed in advance, the burden to decide can sometimes come in moments of immense pressure or grief, or fall on the loved one to try to make the “right choice” in the face of uncertainty.

Once we try to take the taboo out of conversation around death, it clears our way to view our final days or months as another one of life’s chapters. Like all seasons of life, we can exercise some control over how we want it to look and feel.

Healthcare professionals should be advocating for these types of conversations around decision-making. Making time to discuss these matters before you or your loved one reaches their final season is a gift to all involved.

Mission Hospice offers a variety of comfort services to those with a terminal illness. Services include nursing care and aides, spiritual counseling, social services and bereavement. If you or a loved one needs assistance with end-of-life conversations or decisions, please reach out to Mission Hospice at https://homewithmission.com/services/hospice/

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