If you are reading this, it means you may have a need for help in dire circumstances and there seems to be no good alternative. End of life can be very difficult and troublesome in many ways. Patients and families suffer at many levels; physical, psychological, social and spiritual. It may seem that the end will be painful and difficult. If not managed well it may be. But having dealt with hundreds of cases over the last 20 years of my work in this field, I am convinced that we all deserve a good death. It is possible to achieve that if we take the appropriate steps in a timely fashion AND have an understanding, compassionate team of healthcare workers guiding us through.
The first step is to accept death as a normal part of life and prepare for this eventuality proactively.
What you do not want to experience is that you are severely ill and unable to make your own decisions and your family has to decide for your treatment options. This is a huge burden on them and many a times results in conflict among everyone involved. The sad part is that you, the patient , end up suffering unnecessarily.
So, early open and honest conversations with the family are an essential part of your end of life planning, just as you would plan for your assets etc.
Future blogs will give step by step examples and suggestions on how to go about it.