The Day That Changes Everything.
No one is prepared for it, ever. It’s the day that changes everything. It turns your emotions, your outlook, your whole life completely upside down. It’s the day you or a loved one get a terminal diagnosis.
Nothing can prepare you for the news that your life will most likely not be what you thought it would. However, there is no reason you cannot be prepared for what comes next. You can take practical steps to alleviate some of the anxiety and frustration often associated with end-of-life issues.
1. Get informed early
After a life-limiting diagnosis, making choices can be difficult. Take time now to get the information you need to make those choices easier. Learn the difference between different kinds of care. Research how others with a similar diagnosis have proceeded. Do this all as soon as you are able. Waiting too long may only increase the difficulty.
Find out about end-of-life care services available in your area. Speak with a hospice professional or volunteer. These are caring, experienced individuals who have a wealth of knowledge to guide you to what you need to know.
2. Communicate with your loved ones.
Begin to discuss your thoughts and feelings with your family and close friends. These are very difficult conversations. However, opening the lines of communication early is the most healthy thing for you and for those who will mourn your loss.
Talk about the choices you have regarding care, such as staying at home versus a specialized facility. Discuss who you’d like to help care for you, and put someone in charge of that process. Initiate conversations about things like advance directives, finances, and memorial arrangements as well.
3. Communicate with healthcare professionals.
Your doctor or other healthcare professionals can provide you with valuable knowledge about treatment options. Make a special appointment and plan to take someone with you. Write down questions ahead of time, as this conversation may be emotional, so you don’t forget to ask important questions.
4. Communicate with a legal advisor.
You may already have an established estate plan in place. However, a terminal diagnosis may make it necessary to update that plan. If you do not have an estate plan, it will be important to establish one now.
If you’ve chosen to have an advance directive, your attorney can help you with that as well. Once that is in place, make sure you give copies to family and health care agents. Also, keep a copy in an accessible place near you.
Prepare for a time when you may no longer be able to handle financial matters or other decisions on your own. Appoint a durable power of attorney. This is one of the most valuable decisions you can make. It can protect you from serious errors you might make due to reduced faculties caused by medication or disease.
5. Plan for spiritual peace.
God’s presence in times of difficulty is the greatest blessing we have. He promises to never leave us, so we know He is always present. However, don’t be passive about spiritual peace. Make a plan with family or friends to spend deliberate time in prayer, worship, and or reading of scripture at least once a week.
Keep a Bible near you and read or have it read to whenever you can. Mark specific passages that speak to you. This process itself can be a meaningful activity to do with family, loved ones or clergy.
Hospice and Palliative Care
If you believe that you or a loved one may be in need of hospice or palliative care, we are here for you. At Seasons Hospice in Springfield, Missouri, we are committed to making your end-of-life process as rich and pain-free as possible. Please don’t hesitate to call us at (417) 890-5533 today. Our caring and compassionate staff will assist and support you in every step of the process.
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