No one with a sincere care for someone ever wants to deal with having detailed
discussions regarding end of life care for another, much less for themselves. However,
the reality is our society is inundated with various legal procedures and requirements
that all come into play regarding how a person should be cared for in their last days and
who has authority to make various decisions. As a result, having an end of life care plan
is probably about just as smart a strategy as having a will and estate plan.
What is End of Life Care?
You’ve probably heard the word when a relative or grandparent reaches their very
senior years: hospice. It’s an odd reference; unlike other medical terms it doesn’t really
give you a sense of what the word stands for. Some mistake it for some version of
hospital care which is incorrect.
End of life care comes into play when doctors and medical care determine that a person
generally can’t be helped or cured anymore and the condition or ailment is terminal. In
some cases the person may still be able-bodied and capable of function on their own.
Frequently, in other cases the patient is incapacitated or requires ongoing assistance
while still alive.
The care involved typically aims to maintain the comfort of the patient. This can include
medication delivery, procedures and practices to reduce pain, and monitoring.
Frequently, patients nearing end of life have nausea, gastrointestinal issues, and
difficulty breathing. It can be painful simply to function, to eat, or to sleep. The care
provided helps the patient through this last period until he or she finally passes away.
End of life care isn’t just limited to physical treatment either. It can include counseling
and mental comfort, religious guidance, and family communication assistance. Since
everybody has different situations, end of life care tends to be provided on a case by
case basis, to best fit the needs of the given patient.