Hi all! Welcome back to Michelle on Your Side. For those of you who are recieving this on my original page, I hope you will follow me from my “wordpress” site to my self-hostessed site.
Thank you for joining me for another part in the series How Safe are you in the hospital. Today we are going to continue chatting about ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when in the hospital by the things you do before you go into the hospital. We are going to talk about having “THE TALK” or #theconversation.
I just returned from a visit to St Louis area where I grew up and lived most of my life. (I now live in Las Vegas). While I was visiting St Louis I stayed with my dad and stepmom. The conversation inevitably turned to family and specifically my Uncle Andy who passed away April 28, 2018.
My Uncle Andy was a Christian, a Vietnam veteran, a Husband, a Father, a Grandfather, a Brother, an Uncle. Although he was only 70 years old, he had been suffering from a chronic illness for quite some time and on April 23, 2018 he was taken gently to join his parents and his son Charles in heaven. He was one of the lucky ones. His family knew and accepted his wishes. He wanted to be allowed the privilege of being free from the pain and suffering he was going through. A pain where every breath was a struggle. And he wanted his loved ones at his side.
He wanted to be free.
His wife, Aunt Velma and his kids chose the hardest thing they will ever do, they followed his wishes. And though they still have pain and think of him everyday,they have the peace of knowing they followed his wishes. That is true unconditional unselfish love.
As the conversation continued between my dad, Sharon and I we had THE TALK. Let me tell you, I have this talk almost daily at work, but it’s a whole lot easier to have it with strangers whom I’ve know for seconds, minutes, hours than it was with my family. I want you to realize how important it is to let your loved ones know your wishes for end of life. It is important that YOU know what your wishes are.
No one wants to have this talk. It is uncomfortable
- 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important.
- 27% have actually done so.
However everyone knows how important it is.
- 60% of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is extremely important.
- 56% have not communicated their end-of life wishes.
Here’s a few questions to open the conversation.
- What do you value most about your life? (independence, health, being with family)
- If the doctors gave you the diagnosis of a terminal illness, would you pursue every possible treatment?
- Do you want to die at home?
- How do you feel about a very long hospitalization?
- How much pain is tolerable to you?
- Do you want to be with your loved ones when you die?
- What decisions regarding care do you want to entrust to others and who specifically do you want making these decisions?
- What do you hope for most regarding your death?
Think about these questions on your own first. Know what your answers are before you and your loved ones talk. Also, know that I am not discouraging full treatment, do everything, want to live as long as possible. If that is your desire the doctors and nurses will stand behind you. We just want you and your family to know what your wishes are.
Just follow these 4 steps
- Look at the above questions. Know YOUR answers.
- Record those answers in the appropriate document.
- Discuss your decisions and your wishes with your loved ones and others who need to know.
- File or store any paperwork or electronic files you have produced, and distribute copies to the right people.
Source: Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation (2012)
Here is Advance Directive forms listed by State from AARP.
How does this keep you safe in the hospital? I hope that is obvious. So you get the treatment you desire, nothing more and nothing less.
If you don’t mind I’d like to add one last picture of my Uncle Andy.
Be free Uncle Andy! You deserve it!
Talk to you soon!
Michelle on Your Side