Wednesday, December 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Let your family know your final wishes

By
From page A10 | February 16, 2014 |

By David Crawford, M.D.

No one likes to talk about death, especially one’s own. Most Americans say it is important to make sure their family is not burdened by having to make difficult end-of-life decisions on their behalf. But fewer than half have talked with their family about what they want done, and not done, when their time comes.

It is very stressful on family members when a loved one is critically ill and near death. This stress is worse if the person has never given his or her family any guidance on what they would or would not like to have done in this situation. If the loved one is so ill they are unable to communicate their wishes, it is left to the family to decide how much or how little to do. And since family members may have different views on these questions, conflicts can develop. Arguments and disagreements among family members are the last thing needed when a loved one is critically ill. Family members should be supporting each other during such difficult time.

As a physician, I have been at numerous family conferences where a critically ill patient had told no one his or her preferences. Sometimes family members started arguing over what should be done, since each one felt they knew best what the sick person would really want. Other times there was no arguing, but no one knew for sure what the patient would want done. The family chose to “do everything” since they did not want the responsibility of stopping treatments. This often resulted in a prolonged death on life support equipment that the patient never wanted. Surveys show that 70 percent of people say they would prefer to die at home. But if they have not talked this over with their family, it can be hard for the family to make sure this happens.

So, the next time your family gets together, think about having that conversation. Here are some ideas that might get the discussion started. For the parent, “When I think about the last phase of my life, this is what is important to me.” For the adult child, “How would you like the last phase of your life to be?” There is a web site, TheConverationProject.org that has a lot of helpful suggestions on this topic.

It is also important to pick who in your family will speak for you, if medical decisions need to be made on your behalf. Put your wishes in writing using a document called an Advance Directive. Your doctor can provide you with one of these, or they can be found online. Talk to your doctor about your wishes so he or she will know.

Sooner or later, it will happen to everyone. If families discuss their personal wishes ahead of time, it will make a difficult time a little less stressful. When a parent or grandparent becomes critically ill at the end of their life, and the doctor asks whether to put your family member on a life support machine in the Intensive Care Unit, the whole family can say with sadness, but also with certainty, what your family member would like to have done.

— Dr. Crawford is the Associate Medical Director of Partnership HealthPlan of California

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Supervisors remove Saylor from First 5 Yolo Commission

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
GPAS and test scores up for UCD’s newest undergrads

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A1

 
Million Cat Challenge aims to rescue shelter felines

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Everest visit fulfills judge’s lifelong dream

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
U.S., Cuba seek to normalize relations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Water officials fret over rain’s effects

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Not enough hours in the month

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Fatal Capay crash leads to driver’s arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery in full swing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Creative women share food, friendship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Beer and film tour boosts bike group’s coffers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Overeaters get support at meetings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fibro Friends will update their journals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Input sought on county’s facility needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Have coffee with the mayor on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Stockings brighten holidays for special kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Evening tai chi classes start Jan. 6

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Name Droppers: Law prof earns peace prize for nonfiction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Community menorah lighting set Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Latest immunization data shows little improvement locally

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

School board will vote on repairs, new portables

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A6

 
Study: National monument could boost local economy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Round up at the registers for Patwin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Parent/toddler art and music program offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Libraries will be closed around the holidays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cloudy — yet safe — tap water adds to negative health effects

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Come Worship with Us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

This ought to teach her love

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Language failed me that night, but not now

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A8

Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

 
Grand jury function clarified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Defying Western academic norms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Boycotters are our future profs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Many thanks to The Avid Reader

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

 
UCD reveals a challenging softball schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tumey talks about state of Aggie athletics, where they’re headed

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis gets Rio Linda as Curry Invitational starts Thursday

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Westbrook, Durant lead Thunder past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Former Aggie Descalso inks deal with Colorado

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

.

Features

Some vegetables just can’t be beet

By Julie Cross | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6