Have You Shared Your Wishes?
By Sarah Kaveney , MSN, RN, OCN, NEA-BC
Sarah Kaveney , MSN, RN, OCN, NEA-BC
There is nothing more personal than our individual beliefs about life and death. They take years to develop and can change based on our life experiences.
Chances are we will all be called upon to be a “caregiver” for at least one, if not several, of our family members at some point. While there is understandably an extreme sense of devotion and wanting only the very best for your loved one, it is challenging to witness the struggle that occurs. As a nurse for more than 20 years, I have watched countless families called upon to make the very difficult decisions that arise when faced with critical or unexpected illness, living long term with a disease and in many cases, end of life decisions.
In many ways, there is no better gift to give the person caring for you than that of clear direction regarding your wishes should you be put in the position in which you are unable to speak for yourself. Further, thinking about your advanced directives during times of good health can give you clarity and comfort in your decisions. Who would you like to speak for you when you can’t? What kind of care and treatments would you accept or not accept? What measures do you want to be taken to see to your comfort? What do you want your loved ones to know?
“thinking about your advanced directives during times of good health can give you clarity and comfort in your decisions”
All of those topics are included in the Five Wishes Advance Directive Project created by the Aging with Dignity Foundation and are being adopted at The Regional Cancer Center. Information is available at www.trcc.org. Depending on how much consideration you have given to your own wishes or your approach, the process can be completed quickly or over time, but it will be well worth the effort when the final product is complete.
Putting off thinking about difficult topics and developing plans for the future are both part of human nature. It is never to soon to begin these plans, and I guarantee your time will be well spent.
Published in the Spring 2012 Issue of Inside RCC.