Healthcare Decisions: 4 Topics To Talk About
When discussing healthcare decisions, there is a lot of information to be covered. Where do you start? We have put together a quick reference guide for four points that will cover the basics during your conversation about healthcare decisions. To keep the conversation open and active, don’t discuss them all at once. Spread these over several visits or social gatherings.
- Wellbeing: There are many serious discussion topics regarding healthcare, but sometimes individuals forget the personal element. Assessing current wellbeing can help lead us into these discussions and show respect and
dignity for the person we are talking to. Showing compassion opens doors and may break down some barriers. For example, discussing sleep habits, stress level, nutrition, exercise, work, and social life are all very important to keep in mind because they are the fundamentals for what is needed now. Further, talking about the present can help define the future.
- Health: Talk about how you feel about your own health and your loved one may open up about theirs. Dicuss what your health goals are and ask about theirs. Ask them what they want you to know about their physicians and other medical information. Gather medical information such as health records and insurance cards. Place them all in one location.
- Legal Documents: Legal documents allow for your loved one’s wishes to be honored.
- Healthcare Plan-Filling out a living will and selecting a Healthcare Power of Attorney, both of which are advance directives, are very important. Make sure the selected person (agent) is willing to follow the healthcare wishes of your loved one. Ensure these documents are accessible to healthcare professionals, the person selected as the Healthcare Power of Attorney, and caregivers.
- Financial Plan: Having a financial plan in place and documentation of this plan that’s easy to follow, allows for better safe-keeping of information and money. Name a Financial Power of Attorney. This is a person trusted to be in charge of finances when your loved one is no longer able to. Make sure the person named is agreeable to perform in this role.
- End-Of-Life: There are lots of people and questions to be mindful of when having an end-of-life discussion. Communication is important between the individual and the family. Luckily the previous three topics will lead you to a smoother end-of-life discussion. Consider the following questions to get started:
- Who will make decisions for you when you are unable to? Will he/she be the main point of contact and who else should the information be relayed to? How will they be contacted?
- Are you looking for comfort care rather than curative treatments?
- What concerns do you have about what lies ahead?
- How do you want to spend your time as medical treatments become limited?
- Do you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops or you stop breathing? Do you know what happens during CPR?
“90% of people say talking to their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27% have actually done so,” is a statistic from the Conversation Project National Survey 2013. Contact a professional to assist you with these talking points if you want to ensure you are covering everything or begin feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about end-of-life discussions, access free resources, or to speak with one of our trained staff, please call 1-800-233-1708. Visit our website, www.hospice.org. For a detailed guide, visit www.n4a.org or www.theconversationproject.org.
Let’s talk: starting the conversation about health, legal, financial and end-of-life issues. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.n4a.org/files/Conversations.pdf
The Conversation Project website. (2015). http://theconversationproject.org/