This is The Talk nobody talks about. No, not the one about drugs, or about sex. This is The Talk that helps you and the people you love to navigate a confusing and overwhelming medical event like a heart attack, cancer diagnosis, stroke or a chronic illness like diabetes or Parkinson’s, or a gradual decline in health and independence that requires assistance from someone you love.
Hospice Savannah wants to help you start a conversation with the people you love about the kind of care you would want when faced with an illness or sudden medical event. This is the conversation we usually put off until there is an emergency; when no one knows what to do or who to call. Think about it: if you suddenly need your loved ones’ help in a medical situation, do they know who your doctors are? What prescriptions do you take? And why? Probably not.
It’s easy to talk about the weather, and the latest movie you saw. It’s harder to have a focused conversation about important healthcare topics. The following six questions will get you started. These questions are provocative and are meant to help you clarify your wishes so you can make a plan and then live the best possible life.
1. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
2. What does “quality of life” mean to you? Does it include:
- Feeding tube
- Mechanical life support (ventilator)
- Intensive Care
3. What would a peaceful death look like to you?
4. What role would you like your loved ones to play in your dying?
5. What kind of help and support would you like for you and your loved ones?
6. Who would be the best person to advocate for you in an emergency?
Some traits your patient advocate needs include good organizational skills, good listening skills, ability to follow through, good grasp of details, caring and willing to follow your wishes and instructions.
Let Hospice Savannah help you plan for having the talk with your loved ones. Contact Jamey Espina’s Community Outreach staff at 912.355.2289 to come speak to your civic, church or family group,
Click here to connect to the site “Closure: Changing Expectations for End-of-Life”. The information found on this site may provide assistance to you in having this talk with your loved one.
Click here to download a POLST Form from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment are not needed by everyone; only patients with serious illnesses or frailty should have a POLST form. For these patients, their current health status indicates the need for standing medical orders for emergent or future medical care. For healthy patients, an advance directive is an appropriate tool for making future end-of-life care wishes known to loved ones.