Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Five: Planning Ahead, Making Decisions

The Friday Five is our weekly roundup of links to smart articles and helpful resources across the Web. This week, we're focused on making end of life decisions.

1. It's wonderful to see the statistics each year and realize that more individuals are taking advantage of hospice and palliative care programs and services. The downside of that, however, as this American Medical News article points out is that we need more physicians to meet the demand for services. "More doctors sought to meet hospice and palliative care demands" is an interesting read for healthcare professionals, and we can only hope that it encourages individuals to consider hospice and palliative care as a specialty. Every individual deserves the best care we can provide them at the end of life.

2. Last week we linked you to an article about ABC News teaming up with The Conversation Project to encourage more discussion among family members about end of life issues. This week, we're going to link you to Engage with Grace, which promotes something they call The One Slide Project. Their goal is similar: "To help ensure that all of us - and the people we care for - can end our lives in the same purposeful way we lived them." This is great because they present individuals with five simple questions, and hopefully, through answering the questions, spark a conversation about end of life goals and wishes.

3. If you're getting ready to try and formalize your end of life care decisions on paper, you might find this End of Life Decision-Making Guide from the Family Caregiver Alliance useful. It does a great job of defining terms, laying out care options, and helping you understand the role of your healthcare power of attorney. It's a thorough article, but worth the time spent reading and understanding it.

4. Though we all should plan for the end of life, we also know that sometimes we change our minds or sometimes our decisions are determined by our circumstances. Today, one of the biggest challenges for families is a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. In this case, the Alzheimer's Association offers information about planning the end of life for families dealing with Alzheimer's. The "End of Life Decisions" booklet can help you understand what decisions need to be made, and help guide you through some of the questions you might have to answer. It's a great resource that you should look at sooner rather than later.

5. And, finally, since we're talking about asking questions and making decisions, we found this great list of downloadable pdfs from the American Cancer Society about Questions to Ask Your Doctor. The really neat  thing about this list is that the pdfs are for specific types of cancer. Use these questions to help guide you when discussing diagnosis, treatment, and medication options.

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