End-of-Life: How to start the conversation

Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions recognizes that end-of-life conversations can be challenging. Our goal is to help patients and their families to achieve their goals when facing a life-limiting illness. One way to achieve these goals is to discuss them openly with your loved ones, as well as, completing one’s living will or advanced directive.

Decisions about end-of-life care are deeply personal and are based on your values and beliefs. Often times, family members or loved ones are unsure of what your personal wishes might be and having a conversation with your loved ones that focuses on your wishes and beliefs will provide relief to those you care for.

Now that it has been recommended to talk with your loved ones regarding your end-of-life goals and wishes, how do you begin?

It is all about talking:

  1. Talk with your loved one(s) about your wishes.
  2. Talk with your doctor regarding your healthcare options.
  3. Talk to your healthcare agent (power of attorney) about your wishes in the event you cannot make the decisions on your behalf.

These conversations don’t have to be morose, especially if you are having them early, before the need arises. Just have them like any other preparatory conversation, whether it’s what your family does in case of a natural disaster or the terms of your will. Make sure they know that you are fine, and you are doing this in preparation for the unexpected. Remember that if you are comfortable, that will put them at ease.

It is important to make your wishes heard; some ways this can be achieved is through sharing personal beliefs and values.
  1. Tell your family what gives your life the most joy.
  2. Discuss your spiritual beliefs, and how you view death and dying.
  3. Discussing what life-sustaining treatments you would or would not want to pursue. If your heart stopped, under what circumstances would you want doctors to use CPR to try to resuscitate you?

Talking about end-of-life issues can be difficult for anyone. To ensure that your end-of-life wishes are honored, it is essential to discuss your wishes with your loved ones now – before a crisis hits. Our hospice team has observed that families who have already discussed end-of-life goals and wishes are more comfortable when it comes to making decisions on their loved ones behalf. We believe that taking these steps early reduces or eliminates much of the stress during end-of-life.

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Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions (CWHTP) depends upon donations from individuals and businesses, as well as grants and fundraisers to offset the ever increasing gap between third party reimbursements and the actual costs of providing services.

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