Many people do not talk to their loved ones about how they’d like to be cared for if they become seriously ill or at the end-of-life. It is an important talk to have, especially for those living with chronic disease.
The best time to plan for end-of-life care is while you’re relatively healthy, and a good person to have this talk with is your healthcare provider, says Nancy Reyes, APN, Palliative Nurse Practitioner.  Discuss the different kinds of supportive care you might want and for how long. Ask about the quality of life linked with different choices. Having this discussion with your healthcare provider can help you think more clearly about options you might want – and not want – if you are seriously ill.
In addition to your physician or nurse practitioner, there are others who can provide you with information and resources, so you can then start the conversation with loved ones. These include:

  • Palliative care providers. These healthcare providers focus on lessening pain and other symptoms of long-term and serious conditions.
  • Hospice representatives. These healthcare providers offer end-of-life care.
  • Religious advisors or clergy members. Hospitals have pastoral counselors.
  • Social workers. Hospitals and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes employ these professionals.
  • Counselors or therapists.
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. In this installment of the Ask Saint Peter’s video series, Palliative Nurse Practitioner Nancy Reyes, APN, talks about making the decision to talk to your loved ones about your health care.

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