End of Life Care Directory
People may face difficult decisions near the end of life, including the kind of care they'd like to receive and who will make decisions about their care. It's advisable to be prepared by writing an advance directive with instructions about medical care in case of future inability to make a decision and appointing a health care agent or attorney to make treatment decisions. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about end-of-life care, deciding on curative or palliative care, choosing a health care agent, writing an advance directive, finding end of life support, and much more.
Planning the Transition to End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]-Quality Care at the End of Life
You decide what quality care at the end of life means for you. Your care continues even after all treatments have stopped. End-of-life care is more than what happens moments before dying. Care is needed in the days, weeks, and sometimes even months before death. During this time, many patients feel it's important to:Have their pain and symptoms controlled.Avoid a long process of dying.Feel a sense of control over what is happening to them.Cause less emotional and financial burden on the family.Become closer with loved ones.Your doctors and family need to know the kind of end-of-life care you want. Make end-of-life care decisions early.You may be able to think about your options more clearly if you talk about them before the decisions need to be made. It's a good idea to let your doctors, family, and caregivers know your wishes before there is an emergency.
Planning the Transition to End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]-Supportive Care, Palliative Care, and Hospice
Even when treatments can no longer cure the cancer, medical care is still needed.Some of the end-of-life care options are supportive care, palliative care, and hospice.Supportive careSupportive care is given to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms of the cancer, side effects caused by treatments, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to the cancer or its treatment. During active treatment to cure the cancer, supportive care helps you stay healthy and comfortable enough to continue receiving the cancer treatments. In the last stages of cancer, when a cure is no longer the goal, supportive care is used for side effects that continue.Palliative carePalliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious or life-threatening illnesses. The focus of palliative care is relief from pain and other symptoms, both during active treatment and when treatment has been stopped. Palliative care is offered in some hospitals, outpatient centers, and in
Planning the Transition to End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]-Talking with Your Doctor About End-of-Life Care
You may need to start the conversation. Some doctors don't ask patients about end-of-life issues. If you want to make choices about these issues, talk with your doctors so that your wishes can be carried out. Open communication can help you and your doctors make decisions together and create a plan of care that meets your goals and wishes. If your doctor is not comfortable talking about end-of-life plans, you can talk to other specialists for help. (See the PDQ summary on Communication in Cancer Care.)Prognosis, treatment goals, and making decisions are some of the end-of-life issues to discuss with your doctor.Understand your prognosisHaving a good understanding of your prognosis is important when making decisions about your care and treatment during advanced cancer. You will probably want to know how long you have to live. That's a hard question for doctors to answer. It can be different for each person and depends on the type of cancer, where it has spread, and whether you have
Planning the Transition to End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]-The Transition to End-of-Life Care
The change from looking toward recovery to receiving end-of-life care is not an easy one and there are important decisions to be made. If you become too sick before you have made your wishes known, others will make care and treatment decisions for you, without knowing what you would have wanted. It may be less stressful for everyone if you, your family, and your health care providers have planned ahead for this time. For more information about the end of life, see the PDQ summary on Last Days of Life.
Coping with a Life-Threatening Illness
Palliative care improves life by helping patients and caregivers cope with life-threatening illness.
What Is Palliative Care?
With a focus on quality of life and a holistic approach, palliative care helps patients and families through serious illnesses.
Palliative Care for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Palliative care for cancer patients helps ease discomfort, anxiety, nausea, and emotional distress. Find out how palliative care can improve quality of life during and after cancer treatment.
Talk About Death
When a loved one is dying, how do you find the right words?