End-of-Life Care Decisions & Planning

End-of-Life Planning & Care

End-of-life decisions can be difficult to think about, let alone plan the appropriate care for. However, the importance of end-of-life planning cannot be overlooked. Whether it’s documenting your loved one’s wishes in writing or providing them with the most comfortable and caring environment possible, being realistic about what the future may hold can ensure the end-of-life care that both you and your loved one deserve.

What is End of Life Care?

End-of-life care refers to the special support given leading up to death in order to promote maximum comfort and quality of life. It can encompass the following:

Palliative Care can be provided in home or at a hospital. It intends to maximize a patient’s quality of life-physically, emotionally, and spiritually–while also providing medical treatment for his or her illness.

Hospice Care differs from palliative care primarily in that attempts to cure an individual’s illness are ceased. The focus is to relieve symptoms and provide as much comfort and dignity as possible in the final days Learn more on our Hospice Care page.

Supplementary In-Home Care supports families who don’t qualify for hospice care under Medicare, or who need additional support beyond what’s covered. BrightStar Care can help, whether that’s providing medication management or attending to your parent’s dry mouth or position in bed. We also can assist with things you may be overwhelmed by, such as bathing your parent and helping him or her to use the bathroom.

When Is It Time to Begin End-of-Life Planning?

When is it time to create an end-of-life plan? The answer isn’t always clear. Americans are living longer on average due to advances in medicine and health care, but no two individuals follow the exact same path.

Since end-of-life can be hard to predict, it’s best to plan ahead to look out for the best interests and care of your loved one. If you’re looking after an aging parent, approach the conversation with compassion and empathy, but be direct.

What Are Advance Directives?

Advance directives are a key step in creating an end-of-life plan. They include creating a living will and appointing a medical power of attorney. In the event that your parent becomes unable to express his or her wishes, a living will describes the medical treatment he or she wants to receive in end-of-life. Likewise, medical power of attorney allows him or her to entrust someone else to make decisions about medical care.

How Can I Cope with Grief?

Nothing can truly prepare someone for the loss of a loved one, such as a parent. Grief can be especially hard on a family caregiver who has invested so much time and energy into caring for that loved one. It’s also not limited to the period following death; anticipatory grief is a common experience among family members of people in end of life. Take care and tend to your grief in the days leading up to and following passing. We’ve included a few initial suggestions below.

  • Allow your experience to unfold naturally. There is not one “correct” way to grieve.
  • Be gentle and patient with your process. Grief can take time.
  • Do your best to take care of yourself, getting adequate rest and nutrition. Grief impacts more than your emotional state, and you may experience fatigue, changes in appetite, or lack of motivation.
  • Discover ways that are healthy and personally meaningful to you in which you can maintain appropriate connections with your loved one.
  • Friends, family members, and coworkers may not automatically understand what you are going through. Ask for what you need from them and seek out support groups and mental health care professionals as needed.

Get Help from BrightStar Care

Call BrightStar Care today at 866-618-7827 to learn more about our end-of-life care options and to find a location near you.
You can alsocontact us online.