Three Tips to Start the Conversation

| By Jodi Horton

End-of-life care conversations are tricky because no one ever wants to have them. Who wants to think about what it will be like when they are too sick to speak for themselves and when they might be facing the last months of life? Here are our three tips to ease into the conversation.

  1. Choose a related topic, like writing your will. Think about it, your will only comes into play after you’re no longer alive. It’s also a normal thing for people to prepare their will years in advance of their death. As you’re discussing who will inherit your prized possessions, and the person in charge of your finances, why not choose a healthcare power of attorney at the same time? From there, it’s just a skip and a jump to what your end-of-life care preferences are.
  1. Introduce the topic through current events. Current events offer an excellent jumping off point into a discussion about personal preferences for end-of-life treatments. Most recently, we’ve been using news articles and press pieces about Dr. Atul Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End to inspire discussion about how our healthcare system approaches terminal illness and care of the dying.
  1. Use tools to guide the discussion. Sometimes you just might not know where to start the conversation. Tools like The Conversation Project and Five Wishes help you know what questions should be asked and answered. Download a starter kit from The Conversation Project website, or request a free copy of Five Wishes from Casa de la Luz Foundation.

If you know someone interested in learning more about hospice care in the Pima County area, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890.

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