Nephrology Associates of Michigan (NAM) was founded in 1974, it has enjoyed the trust of patients and referring physicians throughout Southeast Michigan.
End of life Decision making can be a difficult chore for many of us. No one really wants to think about dying or how we want to live out the last of our days- but we should. Just as we plan for how we want to live our life we should also think about how we want to pass, die, expire, transition to the Afterlife etc., depending on how you prefer to acknowledge it- we all need to plan for this. As in life, there are many uncertainties with regard to dying- no one knows when or how. Preparing for end of life is not just for older adults. Unexpected illness or injury can happen at any age.
Having these sensitive conversations about our end of life wishes is very important for not only ourselves, but for our families. Postponing these conversations will likely add more stress to an already stressful situation. Why not give the gift of Peace of Mind to our families?
So, what can you do?
- Tell your provider that you want to discuss your wishes for End of Life care (or also termed Advanced Care Planning). Be open and ask questions about your preferences including what you Do Not want or Do want. Information can be given about completing an Advanced Directive which is a legal document that specifies your exact wishes. For example, CPR, tube feedings, artificial respiration interventions can be shared here with your care providers. Patients for example, may chose to have CPR but refuse artificial ventilation. These type of preferences and questions can be addressed with your care provider.
- Next, you need to have this discussion with your family. Often times your documented wishes conflict with family wishes during unexpected illness situations. When the family does not support the decision-even if made in writing- this creates a very difficult situation for the providers and hospital care system. Informing the family of your wishes gives your family Peace of mind that your wishes are carried out. Avoiding a Terry Schiavo scenario is very important for all parties involved.
Terry Schiavo was a young woman who entered a vegetative state due to illness where spouse and family wishes conflicted resulting in 15 year (1990-2005) legal battle. This became a famous right-to-die case that sparked the need to address Advanced Directives across the Nation.
- It would also be helpful to Designate a Medical Durable Power of Attorney- this is one person who you trust to advocate for you when you are unable to do so. Sometimes it is best to designate this to a non-family member to avoid family conflicts who often struggle with making tough end of life decisions when the need arises.
Your providers are here to help answer questions when you are ready to have this conversation.
It is important for everyone to have a plan- better yet- a Legal written plan- in place for our own Peace of Mind…
Janice Marchildon, NP