Have discussions before you need to make the decisions
End-of-life decisions can be stressful for patients and loved ones. During a time of extreme stress and sadness, it can be difficult to evaluate the options and make the best choices for patients.
That’s why, to avoid turmoil, the best time to discuss your wishes about end-of-life treatment is while you are still healthy. All adults, not just seniors or those with terminal illnesses, should participate in Advance Care Planning to express their wishes about life-sustaining treatment and related issues.
Advance Care Planning involves three steps:
- Discuss your individual preferences on life-sustaining medical treatments with your loved ones, physician, and (possibly) attorney
- Write down your preferences or advance directives
- Designate someone to make health care decisions on your behalf – a “healthcare proxy” – if you become unable to make decisions or speak for yourself
Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) is a program designed to improve the quality of care people receive at the end of life. This program is based on effective communication of patient wishes; documentation of medical orders and a promise by health care professionals to honor those wishes.The Molst Form (View the PDF here) is completed by patients and physicians and reproduced on a brightly colored (pink) background to be posted in a visible location in the event of an emergency. Click here to learn more about MOLST.
For additional information about Advance Care Planning, go to the website for Compassion and Support at the End of Life, www.compassionandsupport.org