Making the decisions is not the hard part. After all these years, you know yourself better than anyone.
Common hospital scenario: The doctor asks the patient what she/he wants to do regarding further treatment. The patient tells the doctor, “Ask my son or daughter. They know what I want.” The doctor turns to the son or daughter and sees frantic head shaking “no”. The children have no idea what the mother or father wants.
The Conversation Project is a great place to start. It provides a guide that you can use to have “The Conversation”. Here is the link to their website: http://www.theconversationproject.org.
Other helpful resources on talking to your loved ones:
- How to talk to your Loved Ones:
- What to do if Loved Ones Disagree:
- Other important documents:
Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions
- Link to download your State’s Advance Directives
- Spanish video on Advanced Directives:
Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)
Just the mention of a DNR turns people around in their tracks and stops any conversation. Of course we want everything done. Yet, when you are dying and there is no hope for recovery, you have the choice to not have cardiopulmonary resuscitation which has statistically poor results and usually requires cracking your rib cage.
A DNR is a legal document signed by you or your advocate and your physician. It lets medical personnel know you do not want life support treatment when you are dying. Emergency situations do not allow enough time for this document to be executed, so you need to plan ahead. It can be torn up at any time if you change your mind. Your physician can help you understand this document and the importance of having it in your medical chart as well having it posted on your refrigerator or on the back of your front door.