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Health Care Agents : Appointing One and Being One

How can I talk about these issues?

Talking about end-of-life issues can be difficult for anyone. One way to approach the subject is to talk about why you have decided to name an agent.

For example:

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  • Did a particular event cause you to make the decision?

  • Did an article you read in the newspaper or something that happened to a family member make you think about it?

  • Is the decision part of a broader effort on your part to prepare for the end of life, for instance making your last will and testament for distribution of your property?

  • What is motivating you to take these actions now?

Sometimes sharing your personal concerns and values, your spiritual beliefs, or your views about what makes life worth living can be as helpful to your agent as talking about specific treatments and circumstances. For example:

  • How important is it to be to be physically independent and to stay in your own home? Independence can be extremely important to some and maybe less important to others.

  • What aspects of your life give it the most meaning?

  • How important would it be for you to be able to recognize people or interact with them?

  • What are your particular concerns about dying? About death?

  • How do your religious or spiritual beliefs affect your attitudes toward dying and death? Would you want your agent to take into account the effect of your illness on any other people?

  • Should financial concerns enter into decisions about your treatment?

  • Would you prefer to die at home if possible?

These are not simple questions and your views may change. It is important that you review these issues with your agent from time to time.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

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