Handbook for Mortals : Planning Ahead : What else should I plan for?

Doctors and others on the health care team will focus on medical treatment decisions. You, however, should have a very different agenda much of the time. Picture of a woman enjoying conversation with another woman Often, you will find it rewarding to make plans about who you want to see, what you want to do now, what should happen near the time of death, and what should happen after death. These plans are all too easy to put off if you spend too much time and energy on thinking about medical treatment. If you find you have a great deal of anxiety over a specific medical treatment issue (resuscitation, for example), stop and ask your doctor whether this is really likely to matter much. Often, the honest answer is that the treatment won’t make much difference (and the struggle is really over a symbol). Remember, enjoying this day is always important. Making plans for the people you cherish may be much more rewarding and important than anguishing over medical treatment decisions.

What Might You Plan?
  • To enjoy nature and be in touch with the spiritual
  • To leave some record for future generations
  • To heal old wounds
  • To share time with those you love
  • To have the funeral or memorial you would like
  • To have your last days at home (and therefore have what you need available there)

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Keywords: Advance care planning
Handbook for Mortals book cover Copyright © 1999, 2006 by Joanne Lynn. This extract from the Handbook for Mortals by Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D. is used with permission. To learn more about improving care at the end of life visit the main web site for Americans for Better Care of the Dying.
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