Like planning for retirement, the rule should be “the earlier the better” when planning for end-of-life care (EoLC), writes Aditi Chincholi in 'The Philadelphia Enquirer'.
End-of-life care refers to the broad range of health-care services available to patients in their final hours, days, months, or years of advanced or incurable illness.
Although it may seem daunting, proper planning allows you to be intentional and in control during the final chapters of your life.
There are three types of end-of-life care to consider:
Curative care allows for aggressive treatment at the first sign of illness.
Palliative care, for patients with chronic conditions or terminal illnesses, ensures improved quality of life, relief from pain, and treatment to extend the life of the patient.
Hospice care seeks to keep terminal patients comfortable and maintain end-of-life wishes.
When planning end-of-life care, consider the decisions you or your family might face. Who will speak for you if you are incapacitated? What religious, spiritual, or cultural values should your family and caregivers consider?
There are legal tools you can use to start planning early. A 'living will' lists the treatments (or lack of treatments) you wish to request in the event of terminal illness. 'Medical durable power of attorney' grants a trusted friend or relative the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.