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What are some ways to plan for your death if you have end-stage COPD?

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End-stage COPD is also called stage IV. It means that death may be near. You may feel uncomfortable talking about it with loved ones. But the conversations may help put everyone’s minds at ease. They also give you a chance to take care of practical matters. Some important questions to discuss include:

Where do you want to spend your final days? Most people want to die at home, but 80% do so in a hospital or nursing home. Consider if you’d want hospice at home. If so, let your family know. Hospice also can help survivors come to terms with their loss when you’re gone.

Do you want life-saving measures? If you collapse at home, do you want emergency medical workers to resuscitate you? Do you want to be on a ventilator if you can’t breathe on your own? An advance directive is a legal document that lists your wishes. It:

  • Names a health care power of attorney to make decisions if you can’t speak for yourself
  • Includes a living will that states your wishes for your power of attorney to follow

Is your will updated? It’s a good idea to check your will if you haven’t for a while. Or write one if you don’t have one. If you need help, talk to a trusted friend, estate planner, or a lawyer who knows the laws in your state.

What kind of funeral, if any, would you like? Don’t assume that your family knows your plans for your final arrangements.

SOURCES:

British Lung Foundation: “What Are the Physical Signs in the Last Weeks or Days?” “How Do I Care for a Loved One at the End of Life?”

American Lung Association: “Learn about COPD,” “Planning for the Future with COPD,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Samaritan Hospice and Palliative Care: “End-Stage COPD: What to Expect at the End of Life.”

Stanford School of Medicine: “Home Hospice: Home Care of the Dying Patient.”

Hospice UK: “Being with Someone When They Die.”

End of Life Washington: “The Symptoms of Dying.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 30, 2020

SOURCES:

British Lung Foundation: “What Are the Physical Signs in the Last Weeks or Days?” “How Do I Care for a Loved One at the End of Life?”

American Lung Association: “Learn about COPD,” “Planning for the Future with COPD,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Samaritan Hospice and Palliative Care: “End-Stage COPD: What to Expect at the End of Life.”

Stanford School of Medicine: “Home Hospice: Home Care of the Dying Patient.”

Hospice UK: “Being with Someone When They Die.”

End of Life Washington: “The Symptoms of Dying.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 30, 2020

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What are some tips for caregivers for people with end-stage COPD?

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