Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on BestEndings.com  a website whose mission and mandate is to help navigate personal and medical decisions as life’s end nears.  Founder, Kathy Kastner, encouraged me to tackle the subject, after all, who’s a better candidate for an abrupt, or unpredictable ending, than a 61 year-old male with a life-long chronic illness. Its definitely a touchy subject, but she gave me some tools and direction to get started. Here’s my first take: Who’s important in my end-of-life plan?

Contemplating that question, it took me a moment to realize that “I’m important!”  Taking Inventory of Who I Am It starts here, similar in some respects to a computer chip, the intelligence that powers the organism, I am:

61 years old, orphan son Living with Crohn’s disease for 30+ years, with multiple surgeries, treatments, medications Husband of 32 years in a loving relationship (more on this later) Parent of 2 young adults who are compassionate, thoughtful, open minded critical thinkers.

Who are my ‘important’ extended family relationships?

I’m a younger brother (yes at 61) he and his wife are present in my life. I’m a cousin to people who are important to me. Some of these relationships play major continuing roles that are vital to my [...] continue the story

We Listen. We Care. | Compassion & Choices

Leaders in the care of patients who face serious and life-limiting illness have designated November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, prompting more stories about both options. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives a very good overview of palliative care and hospice in this Q&A with Dr. Diane Meier. The theme of this year’s observance is “We Listen. We Care.”

Listening is the No. 1 objective of our End-of-Life Consultation team (EOLC). Do you or someone you know face a serious illness? Do you have questions about palliative care or hospice? A Compassion & Choicesrepresentative will gladly answer any questions you or your loved ones have about what these options mean and how each can improve quality of life. Anyone can access an EOLC counselor at no cost by calling 800-247-7421.

Caring about the patient, especially at the end of life, is a key objective of our educational and advocacy efforts. Our goal is to change the focus of medical providers to the patient rather than the patient’s illness. This is the core of our principles for patient-centered care. As individuals face the end of life and try to navigate the health care system, their own values and choices should be paramount. Our seven principles — focus, self-determination, [...] continue the story

“How to Live Before You Die.”

In his 2005 address to the Stanford University graduating class he told them that “death is life’s change agent.” Yesterday, the man who was one of the leaders of the information revolution and permanently changed the way our society shares and communicates information, left this world silent of the end-of-life experience.

He gave us tools to help us elevate ourselves beyond our own expectations of what defines us.  Yet at the end of his life, only a simple statement back on August 24 shared little.

It brings up the issue how even the most innovative of us are still trapped by society’s taboos, by topics that we haven’t got the courage, understanding, or education to talk about comfortably.

Whether its end-of-life or chronic illness, the notion of sickness is something we still don’t have an open dialogue about. People whose bodies are suffering are stigmatized by their conditions. And public behaviour ends up marginalizing the individual.

It would have been interesting, no doubt, had Steve Jobs shared with us, even a minute portion of his experience with illness and impending death. How liberating might it have been if among all the billions of accolades that are coming out today, there would be one that [...] continue the story