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- Who am I?
- My Health
- Comfort Care
- Quality of Life
- Pause for Thought
- Medical Interventions
- Brain Function
Step 2: How's your health now?
Many people live with one or more health issues, and still consider themselves healthy.
Examples of chronic illness diabetes, arthritis, rheumatoid disease, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, mental illness, asthma, digestion, kidney disease, diabetes.
Examples of terminal or life-limiting illness Dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, some cancers, Kidney Failure, Lung Disease,
How would you describe your current health? (check all that apply)
Step 3: Comfort Care
"See and treat patients as people, don't reduce them to a disease."– Dr Kate Granger
Whether or not there’s a medical solution to make your life better, even if you can’t speak for yourself, your BestEndings Advance Directives can still include comfort care (also called Palliative Care).
Step 4: Quality of Life
Any intervention or procedure may affect the quality of life you had before.
Consider your quality of life now and the things that are important to you. If you cannot speak for yourself, the instructions you leave with loved ones about medical interventions and treatments may depend on:
- your overall health
- your family health history
- how long the intervention will be required
- possible side effects or complications from the intervention
- how long it may take to recover
- how your quality of life will be affected when you recover
You can also direct that you want to let nature take its course –Allow Natural Death (AND) – while ensuring you are made comfortable.
How long it takes to recover may be something you wish to consider. Recovery time after treatments can vary.
Step 5: You're halfway there!
You’ve answered 50% of the questionnaire.
Time to pause for thought. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about the realities and complications of life’s end.
Unlike past generations, most people have not seen someone dying. We are not familiar with the process or stages of dying. The reality can be scary and upsetting
Often the expectation is that modern medicine can offer a solution to everything.
- Medical professionals are sometimes solely focused on saving life at all costs. For many health professionals saving lives is the very reason they got into the business.
- Comfort and peace of mind can be downplayed or considered less important than trying for a cure or extending life.
- It may fall to you or your loved ones to make decisions about when life is worth prolonging.
- Decisions about when to try to keep on keeping on can be difficult and heart-rending.
"When you're walking through hell, keep on walking" - Winston Churchill
Step 6: Revive me or Do Not Revive Me (DNR)
For some, saving or prolonging life is what's most important. For others, quality of life is what's most important. It can be hard for people (including family and friends) to accept your choice. That's why it is so important to share your wishes with your decision-maker(s) and everyone who matters to you.
You can direct: Do Not Revive by Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR); do not connect to a Breathing Machine.
Step 7: Life-prolonging medical Interventions
Along with CPR to restart your heart, and Breathing Machines when you're unable to breath on your own, there may be other life-prolonging interventions to consider, if you become too ill or injured to speak for yourself.
One of the hardest decisions may be whether or not to supplement eating and drinking if you are unable to eat and drink on your own.
Consider if you would consent to a feeding tube - whether in your nose, or stomach.
If you want neither, you can direct that you want to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED)
While not every decision can be foreseen or planned, you can direct that your wish is to save and prolong your life.
Step 8: Dementia or other loss of Brain function
Dementia (Alzheimer’s, Lewey body and Vascular Dementia ) over time, will likely rob you of your mental abilities
Should you have a Stroke, or be diagnosed with a disease such as Parkinson’s you may not be able to speak for yourself in the event of a medical decision.
A brain injury or accident can also leave your brain damaged.
If you are not competent to speak for yourself consider if you would like medical procedures or interventions to prolong your life.
If your wish is not to prolong your life, but rather to let nature take its course, your direction is to Allow Natural Death (AND) while ensuring your comfort.
If you have already been diagnosed with Dementia (Alzheimer's, Lewy Body or Vascular Dementia) and know you likely will become incompetent to speak for yourself, consider if you would want to be revived if your heart stops or you stop breathing.
If you stop breathing do you want these heroic interventions to save or prolong your life?
If your condition or illness progresses to the point where you can’t eat or drink on your own, consider if you would you want nutrition via feeding tubes to prolong your life.
If you can't speak for yourself, consider if you would like these common life-prolonging interventions and treatments:
Step 9: Evaluation
Before the last step, please help us make this process better. Your evaluation and input is very much valued!
Step 10: Last step. Confirm you're of sound mind
Way to go. You made to the end.
Now you just have to confirm you’re of sound mind. Easy, right?
Thank you for completing your BestEndings Advance Directives. If your health changes or you learn more about your end-of-life journey, you can always complete a new BestEndings Advance Directives.
where to send your BestEndings Advance Directives