Questions and Answers: Artificial Nutrition and Hydration and End of Life Decision Making
Glossary of Terms continued...
A program to deliver palliative care to individuals who are in the final stages
of terminal illness. In addition to providing palliative care and personal
support to the patient, hospice includes support for the patient's family while
the patient is dying, and grief support after death.
Treatments (medical procedures) that replace or support an essential bodily
function (may also be called life-support treatments). Life-sustaining
treatments include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation,
artificial nutrition and hydration, dialysis, and certain other treatments.
A type of advance directive in which an individual documents his or her wishes
about future medical treatment if he or she is at the end of life and unable to
communicate. It may also be called a "directive to physicians,"
"health care declaration," or "medical directive." The purpose
of a living will is to guide family members and doctors in deciding how
aggressively to use medical treatments to delay death.
Medical Power of Attorney
A document that allows an individual to appoint someone else to make decisions
about his or her medical care if he or she is unable to communicate. It may
also be called a health care proxy, durable power of attorney for health care,
or appointment of a health care agent or surrogate. The person appointed may be
called a health care agent, surrogate, attorney-in-fact, or proxy.
A comprehensive approach to treating serious illness that focuses on the
physical, psychological, spiritual, and existential needs of the patient. Its
goal is to achieve the best quality of life available to the patient by
relieving suffering, controlling pain and symptoms, and enabling the patient to
achieve maximum functional capacity. Respect for the patient's culture,
beliefs, and values are an essential component. Palliative care is sometimes
called comfort care.
Withholding or Withdrawing Treatment
Forgoing life-sustaining measures or discontinuing them after they have been
used for a certain period of time.