Working in healthcare the frequency of poor decision making when it comes to end of life decisions and choices has made many a good healthcare provider change careers. It becomes an ethical dilemma when patients are coerced into major procedures when the outcome will be poor regardless of the intervention. Many times it is because of poor communication between the patient, their family and the caring physicians. This can largely be prevented through advanced care planning. Effective communication between the patient or legally designated decision-maker and health care professionals ensures decisions are sound and based on the patient’s understanding their medical condition, their prognosis, the benefits and burdens of the life-sustaining treatment and their personal goals for care.
The discussion should include what interventions would you agree to, what do you want to avoid? What do you want your family to know. Decisions include CPR, life support, respirators, tube feedings, surgical procedures, pain management, medications, skilled nursing facilities, hospice. How do you choose to spend your final days? At the bottom of this post you will find many wonderful resources to help you in decision making, and communication with family and physicians.
- Aging With Dignity (Five Wishes) – Order Online
- Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment
- Caring Connections – Download Free State Specific Advance Directives
- Center for Practical Bioethics – Download for free
- Compassion and Choices – State-Specific Advance Directive Material
- Lifecare Advance Directives – Advance Directive Support Documents
- MedicAlert Foundation – Advance Directives for all 50 States
- MyDirectives (Platform to complete free advance directives online)
- National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives
- Project GRACE – Download
- The Will to Live Project
- The Patients’ Rights Council