Identifying the questions
As you’re talking about the issues, here are some of the questions that may help you get started:
- How do you want to be treated when you cannot communicate your wishes or at the end of your life?
- Are there medical treatments you particularly want to receive or refuse?
- What are you most afraid might happen if you can’t make decisions for yourself?
- If you have concerns (or fears) about specific medical treatments you might receive, what are your concerns?
- How do you picture your ideal life/death?
- What is the difference for you between
- allowing a natural death and
- using every available means to prolong life?
Answering these questions can begin the process of identifying treatments you feel positively or negatively about. For example, some people feel strongly that if they can no longer eat, swallow or digest food, that they do not want to have a feeding tube. Others are afraid they would feel hungry and would prefer to continue to receive food through a feeding tube – assuming other of their basic needs for quality of life are met.
As you are exploring your own feelings, be assured that there are no right or wrong answers. We have grown into the people we are on our journeys. Everyone’s feelings and fears are valid. Everyone has a right to receive the best medical care that aligns with their values. That’s what documenting your wishes is designed to do – take you through the process of understanding your options and making the best decisions for yourself.