End of Life Issues in the Whole Family Approach
– These issues can be complex and can be emotionally charged. They may be connected to cultural, religious, and moral beliefs. When important end of life decisions need to be made, the stress of the responsibility, and the seriousness of the situation can cause great discomfort. Care managers are often engaged to help facilitate the discussions, and help family members come together to work as a functional unit. Understanding the differing viewpoints is critical. Knowing what a parent wants and does not want during the last days and hours of life help define and simplify the role of family. It relieves the family of the burden of having the responsibility of making decisions which may not be what their parents want, and can also avoid family conflicts when adult children may have differing values.” Proactive discussions and legal planning can help to reduce some of the potential conflicts.
In the sitation I found myself in last week with a family members dealing with end of life issues their issues were : relationship to money as he would need to have 24 hour care to return home to die, where he would return home, as although the son was unsure , everyone agreed that the son’s home where all the grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered was the best place. Most important was should the elderly man withdraw dialysis and extereme measures that were not saving his life. He was competent and had chosen these. All, these probelms were solved in the hospital by a family meeting with hospice, the care managed home care agency the son and his wife and myself and many meetings with the physicians. I acted a care manager to facilitate the discussion, as I am am very extended family member who has been involved as an unpaid care manager for 2 years. The end result, as I said in my blog, was to move to the son’s home, with 24 hour care and Hospice, where the entire family is gathered in and out all day and the elderly man is dying with such peace knowing that his family is surrounding him.