Take time to consider end-of-life care
This year we saw former First Lady Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin, and Senator John McCain face serious illness and pass the last days of their lives at home with loved ones. However, many families may face medical emergencies without ever having spoken about their wishes for care.
This National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, I want to remind everyone that advance care planning is not just for the rich and famous, but is a beautiful gift all families can give and receive with a little forethought and planning. Who would you want to speak for you if, after a serious accident or illness, you could not speak for yourself? A peaceful death at home is available to all Americans thanks to the Medicare Hospice Benefit, but have you told your family and medical practitioners about your wishes? Planning for what happens in the event of an accident, serious illness, or terminal diagnosis can seem intimidating or uncomfortable, but there are resources available to help you have these important conversations.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's CaringInfo.com website is a great resource and includes state-specific Advance Directives. Living your last days, weeks, and months on your own terms and ensuring that your care complies with your own morals, beliefs, and wishes is possible, but you must have the conversations with your family and medical practitioners.
As you reflect on this past year and prepare for the holiday season, I encourage you to give thought to advance care planning and share your wishes with your loved ones. It will be time well spent.