End-of-life care is the term used to describe the support and medical care given during the time surrounding death. This care does not happen only in the moments before breathing stops and the heart stops beating. People living with one or more chronic illnesses may need a lot of care for days, weeks, and even months before death. In addition, we don’t always know when death is near, so it is important that we figure out a plan in advance.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “End-of-life care includes physical, emotional, social, and spiritual support for patients and their families. The goal of end-of-life care is to control pain and other symptoms so the patient can be as comfortable as possible. End-of-life care may include palliative care, supportive care, and hospice care.”
Some interesting statistics:
· 90% of people say it’s important to discuss end of life care with their families, but only 27% have done so.
· 80% of people say it’s important to discuss end of life treatment with their physicians, but only 7% have done so.
· 82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing, but only 23% have done so.
Visit these sites for help in documenting your end-of-life care wishes: