A Dying Well Plan Part II

By Elizabeth Sukys-Rice

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. -Viktor Frankl

Qualitative vs Quantitative

When we begin to look at the act of dying well be sure to have those important conversations. There is no right or wrong choices, each individual has their own beliefs and desired outcomes when it come to their dying process. Life is messy and hard yet it can be more manageable when we have a plan. Here are some points to get the conversation going.

  • Begin these conversations early in the illness
  • Revisit these discussions when your condition changes substantially
  • What is your and your family’s information-sharing preferences, email, text, phone calls, FaceTime?
  • What kinds of information do you wish to have, what would you prefer not to know?
  • Who should be involved in discussions about the your care?
  • How should important decisions be handled?
  • Will key decisions be made by you, a certain family members, or the clinician, or will the decisions be made collaboratively?
  • “What are your main worries or fears about your situation?”
  • What are your values, goals, and preferences for care.
  • Allow time for yourself to reflect on choices
  • Give yourself a chance to say goodbye
  • Contemplate “What made our life your life worth living?”
  • Reflect on your life
  • Leave last messages
  • Perhaps visit special places for a last time
  • Listen to your favorite pieces of music
  • Read loved poems
  • Prepare, according to your beliefs, to meet your maker or enjoy eternal oblivion

Respecting Peoples Choices ( The 2 most important question to answer)

  • In the event you became too sick to speak for yourself who would you like to speak for you?
  • Have you spoken to that person about the things that are important to you?

What Does Death Look Like, the 2 phases

Pre-active Phase

  • Person withdraws from social activities and spends more time alone, speaks of “tying up loose ends” such as finances, wills, trusts
  • Person desires to speak to family and friends and make amends or catch up
  • Increased anxiety, discomfort, confusion, agitation, nervousness, inactivity, lethargy or sleep
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Increased inability to heal from bruises, infections or wounds
  • Less interest in eating or drinking
  • Person talks about dying, says that they are going to die or asks questions about death
  • Person requests to speak with a religious leader or shows increased interest in praying or repentance

Active Phase

  • Person states that he or she is going to die soon
  • Has difficulty swallowing liquids or resists food and drink
  • Change in personality
  • Increasingly unresponsive or cannot speak
  • Does not move for longs periods of time

Don’t find yourself saying “We thought there would be more time..”

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