EOL Decisions

The end of life stage can be very stressful for all parties involved. Every American should be responsible to make their own decisions on what they prefer during this stage. This will alleviate unnecessary stress during an already terrible time. Most people seem to be unaware or avoid end of life topics because of the taboo nature. However, as society we tend to embrace having the power to make choices and that should include choices of medical treatment and funeral arrangements during the last months of life. Making decisions before hand and having things prepared is a smart option.

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The responsibilities should include what treatment they would want in various scenarios like acquiring dementia, becoming brain dead or any terminal disease like cancer. This will allow the family to solely cope with what is going on with their ill loved one instead of worrying about the un-made medical decisions. It would even be helpful for a person to have funeral arrangements set up before the time comes.

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This may tend to freak a lot of people out, but if you think about it you are really the only one who knows exactly what you want. I know I definitely do not want to be buried but I have never expressed that to anyone. If I were to die tomorrow (god forbid) I’m sure the general consensus would be to bury my body because my request has never been given. After the death of a loved one many families may feel regret of the decisions made. Questioning whether or not the correct decisions were made during the end-of-life phase happens. I witnessed this when my mother had to decide to take my grandmother off of life support after a car accident. With her having to make such a huge decision it definitely had a negative affect on her coping process. I think responsibilities should go past advanced directives, living wills, a legal proxy, etc. As taboo as death and end of life is it needs to be talked about- it is our responsibility to talk about it.

The patient should die as they please and the family should be there for the loved one during the time of need. The family should watch over the loved one and ensure everything is being carried out by the medical professionals as the patient requested. Healthcare providers, just like anyone, can make a mistake or over look something. We are all human and things don’t always happen as they should. If the family or patient feels as though they need to question the provider they should do exactly that. Just because they are expected to be the experts does not mean the patient and family cannot have enough knowledge to think another option may be more suitable.

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Susan Jacoby’s argument is precisely correct. If more Americans would break the contradiction and make end of life decisions earlier on it would make this life phase much more bearable for everyone.

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4 thoughts on “EOL Decisions

  1. I definitely enjoyed this blog post. I completely agree that people should discuss what they want for different scenarios. No one knows you better than yourself, therefore, no one knows exactly what you want. I agree that if you make your own decisions the family will be able to cope in a more positive way after you have passed. I am very sorry to hear about your grandmother. I can see how your mother would feel overwhelmed by making that decision. You basically have another life in your hands. You’re deciding someone else’s fate and that is a very heart-throbbing and nerve-wrecking decision.

  2. I think you make an excellent point about how making end of life decisions is not only the responsible thing to do, but also the most bearable thing to do. That is, by making these difficult choices earlier on in life, we will greatly reduce the stress and anxiety that come with our final stages of life. Knowing how and when you want to be treated takes the burden of choice off of your loved ones and healthcare providers, and ensures that your wishes will be followed, not anyone else’s! With this stress removed you and your loved ones will have more energy to deal with an already difficult time. This way, you are better able to enjoy your last stage of life. Excellent blog post!

  3. It’s so surprising that no matter how many deaths occur in our world today or are heard on the news, some people still refuse to discuss and accept death. You touched on an excellent point that no one knows what you want more than yourself and when it comes to life, people always try to get what they want. So, why not know what you want and get what you want for when you die? I also do believe that it is our responsibility to talk about death and with talking about death we should seek to become familiar with death and its practices. Making rash purchasing choices and decisions are evident with those who stave death off till it arrives at the front door, but with more and more people communicating the positive aspects of death, we can hope to see a place where death is more embellished and unique. It would be 100 times better for me to be turned into a star, than be buried in a box.

  4. The decision your mother had to make is one I never want my family to have to make for me. That is painstaking and emotionally loaded to have to make a decision like that concerning a loved one. I agree that everyone should make their wishes known to the best of their ability; that is after discussing options with a doctor. I am a mother, however, and this would be difficult to discuss with my son. I guess this is why many times advanced directives don’t get done.
    It is interesting that you feel funerals and body disposal should also be included in the decision process. If you feel this strong against burial, then you should write this down somewhere too. Death is so taboo in the United States so I do understand your hesitation about trying to bring up conversation about burial. People would just try to get you not to talk about it thinking it is morbid–denial. Maybe this could be included in a legal will since it is concerned with after death?

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