It can be overwhelming to be asked to make health care decisions for someone who is dying and no longer able to make his or…

Try: It can be overwhelming to be asked to make health care decisions for someone who is dying and no longer able to make his or her own decisions it is even more difficult if you do not have written or even verbal guidance how do you decide what type of care is right for someone even when you have written documents some decisions still might not be clear two approaches might be useful one is to put yourself in the place of the person who is dying and try to choose as he or she would that is called substituted judgment the other approach known as best interests is to decide what would be best for the dying person if you are making decisions for someone at the end of life and trying to use one of these approaches it may be helpful to think about the following has the dying person ever talked about what he or she would want at the end of life has he or she expressed an opinion about how someone else was being treated what were his or her values in life what gave meaning to life maybe it was being close to family, watching them grow and making memories together perhaps just being alive was the most important thing as a decision-maker without specific guidance from the dying person you need as much information as possible on which to base your actions you might ask the doctor what can we expect to happen in the next few hours days or weeks why is this new test being suggested will it change the current treatment plan will a new treatment help my relative get better how would the new treatment change his or her quality of life will it give more quality time with family and friends how long will this treatment take to make a difference if we choose to try this treatment can we stop it at any time for any reason what are the side effects of the approach you are suggesting if we try this new treatment and it doesn’t work what then if we don’t try this treatment what will happen is the improvement we saw today an overall positive sign or just something temporary information references "caring for a person with alzheimer’s disease your easy-to-use guide from the national institute on aging" by national institute on aging 2011 available at www nia nih gov

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Categories: Sage, Topic, Communication, Medical Physical

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Keywords: End of life care at home hospice death dying palliative care health care decisions

*This information is listed as a Fact Sheet and is not explicitly medically licensed

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