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Ask Tough Questions

If you or someone you love is very ill, ask tough questions Ask Your Doctor

  1. Will you talk openly and candidly with me and my family about my illness?
  2. What decisions will my family and I have to make, and what kinds of recommendations will you give to help us make these decisions?
  3. Will you advocate for me with my insurance provider or health plan if you believe that their decisions are not in my best interest?
  4. What will you do if I have pain or other uncomfortable symptoms?
  5. How will you help us find excellent professionals with special training when we need them (for example, medical, surgical and palliative care specialists, faith leader, social workers, etc.)?
  6. Will you let me know if treatment stops working so that my family and I can make appropriate decisions?
  7. Will you support me in getting hospice care?
  8. If I reach a point where I am too sick to speak for myself, how will you make decisions about my care?
  9. Will you still be available to me even when I'm sick and close to the end of my life?

Ask Your Family

  1. Will you seek out information about my disease, advance directives, your roles as caregivers, and what to expect as I get sicker and near the end of life?
  2. Will you respect my wants and needs, even if they're different from what they used to be, or if you don't agree with my choices?
  3. If I cannot communicate for myself, will you speak for me to make sure that what I've asked for is done, even if you would make different choices yourself?
  4. Will you talk with me openly and lovingly about any unfinished business between us and listen if I need to apologize or ask forgiveness for anything in the past that has hurt you?
  5. Will you care for yourself so that you are not exhausted from caring for me or watching me get sicker?
  6. Will you stay with me even if the going gets rough?

Ask Your Spiritual Caregiver

  1. Will you understand and support my need for my spiritual self to be nourished and to grow, even as my physical being deteriorates?
  2. If I have negative feelings like frustration, sadness, despair, anger at God or life, will you listen empathetically?
  3. Will you help me if I have problems communicating with my family or friends?
  4. Will you continue to visit me even if I get very sick or can no longer respond?
  5. Will you visit with my family and help them with their spiritual concerns about my illness?
  6. Will you just sit and be with me, even if I don't want to talk?

Ask Your Health Care Agent

  1. Are you willing to be my health care agent and make medical decisions for me when I am no longer able?
  2. Will you be able to make decisions for me if they are what I want? Even if they are not what you would choose for yourself?
  3. Are you willing to advocate on my behalf?
  4. Will you be able to ask the doctor for more information if you don't understand a treatment?
  5. Will you be able to make a medical decision and change it later if the treatment is not having the intended benefit?

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

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