Tuesday, March 3, 2009

End of Life Decision Making

Lynn Hudson's mother didn't want to go to a hospice.  Nor did her family want her to remain in her own home.  The best option, they agreed, was that Yiayia at 98 years of age and succumbing to cancer would live her final days with one of her daughters, son-in-law and her triplet teen grandchildren.  

This is what Lynn graciously shared with me about overseeing her mother's end of life care:

1. Be clear about your parent's death wishes.

2. Provided they have the mental capacity to do so, the patient/parent should have enough information so that he/she can decide how they want to proceed (for instance, ice chips can prolong life.  Moistening lips can keep the patient comfortable).  

3. Get all affairs including finances in order.

4. Discuss any unfinished business and unresolved feelings.

5. Make them comfortable (take advantage of various comfort aids).

6. Provide privacy (in crowded quarters, curtains can be hung).

7. Call in the clergy for final rituals and check out books on spirituality at the end of life.

8. Understand that the senses such as hearing may become more pronounced near death.

9. Grant loved ones private time with the patient.

Read what therapists Rosemary Lichtman and Phyllis Goldberg have to say.

Also, www.50somethinginfo.com has an enormous amount of information about death and dying.  Check it out.  

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