If your parent has a terminal illness, at some point, you and your family need to make decisions about his or her end-of-life care. The decisions that need to be made are usually not easy, but they are necessary. Here are some tips for making end-of-life decisions for your parent.
Communicate With the Family
Communication is key during the decision-making process. You and every family member who is going to be involved in deciding what is best for your parent needs to stay in contact with each other.
You and your family also need to select one person to speak on behalf of the family to health care people. By doing this, you avoid confusion about your parent's care and ensure that the proper people are notified if a decision needs to be made. As updates are given to the family representative about your parent's health, he or she can inform the rest of the family.
It is important that everyone agree that decisions are made as a group. If it is not possible to get everyone's consent while making decisions, talk about letting a majority decide.
Involve the Health Care Team
You and your family should avoid making any health care decisions about your parent's care without first consulting with the doctors and other professionals involved in treating your parent. The family's representative can present the health care provider with the questions the family has and obtain the answers.
Once the provider answers, the family is able to make an informed decision. Never make a decision without conferring with the health care providers. They know your parent's medical condition and will have sound recommendations for what is best, which may include hospice care.
Talk to Your Parent
Unless your parent is mentally unable to make decisions about his or her care, find out what his or her desire for end-of-life services is. By involving your parent, you can be sure you respect his or her wishes.
You can also ensure that all legal documents needed to oversee your parent's health care are signed. For instance, your parent can agree to sign a durable power of attorney to give permission to someone in your family to make decisions regarding his or her care.
End-of-life care decisions are never easy to make. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable. By planning ahead of time, you and your family can save everyone from a lot of stress later.