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Advanced Directives: Starting the Tough Conversation

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Illness raises many questions. Whether you are ill or are caring for someone who is ill, you are in a position to make important decisions. Knowing what you want and don’t want, or what they want and don’t want, will make those decisions easier.

  • What kind of treatment do you want?
  • Do you want to stay at home?
  • Who will make decisions on your behalf if you can’t?
  • What kind of services do you want to celebrate your life?

The conversation can be hard to start, but it is worth the discussion, and Gulfside can help.

Our team of social workers, chaplains and volunteers is trained to help when it comes to answering the tough questions. Our team can act as a moderator during family discussions, help with paperwork and offer resources for legal aspects of decision making, and offer tools to help get the conversation started.

Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Organization has three great tips for those tough conversations:

  1. Have the Conversation Early – Don’t wait till a crisis occurs before thinking about end-of-life plans. These conversations are best started early, before the stress and confusion of a medical event occur.
  2. Involve Your Doctor and Local Hospice – Hospice programs are professionals at having end-of-life discussions, and most likely there will be a hospice representative located in your local hospital.
  3. Get it in Writing – There are many tools that can be used for Advanced Care Planning. Each does something a little different, so consider filling out a combination to ensure your wishes are completely understood.

The Five Wishes Booklet, created by Aging with Dignity, can be a great tool to help with starting the conversation, as well as a guide for what important topics to discuss. Gulfside recommends having the Five Wishes booklet completed in addition to other advanced directive documents because it also focuses on the more personal side of your final wishes. The five-step booklet, which is a legal document in 42 states and can act as a living will, covers the following topics:

  1. The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
  2. The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
  3. How comfortable I want to be
  4. How I want people to treat me
  5. What I want my loved ones to know

Click the button below to request your free copy of the Five Wishes booklet, compliments of Gulfside Hospice. You can also request for a Gulfside representative to come to your group,  community organization or business to present the Five Wishes booklet and provide free copies.

Request a Five Wishes Booklet