Five Tips for End-of-life Health Planning

Advance planning for a health care crisis or end-of-life decisions are some of the hardest conversations families have. But planning now for what you or your family members want to happen with care and treatment near the end of life will ensure your wishes are met. Plus, it removes the guesswork from family trying to make treatment decisions in a health care crisis, according to Samantha Tramontina, RN and on-call nurse for Einstein Montgomery Hospice, which serves the greater Philadelphia region.

Tramontina lists these five steps to follow to clearly spell out your health care wishes:

  1. Talk to your family. Start the conversation about what you want or don’t want to happen to you in a health care setting so relatives have a general idea of your wishes.
  2. Talk to your doctor. Whether it’s the primary care doctor, specialist, or treatment team, they need to know what your wishes are and they can help explain your options.
  3. Complete a living will. This is a detailed document that outlines treatments or actions you do or do not want in a health care setting.
  4. Establish a power of attorney. This is a person you appoint when you are of sound mind to make your health decisions for you if you are unable. There are several types, each with different amounts of power for different lengths of time.
  5. Talk to an elder care attorney. An attorney can help you to properly complete all of this paperwork.