Dedicated, experienced advocacy in alignment with your uniquely personal beliefs, values, and goals makes things easier, meaningful, and fulfilling for the family, friends, and medical/care professionals involved on the care team.
There are more treatment and care choices in our modern world than ever before in all time. There are also restrictions and spiritual, emotional, and financial trade-offs. We all have plenty to consider when eventually faced with chronic illness, terminal diagnosis, or dying.
As your advocate, I help you define your beliefs, values, and goals for quality of life and spiritual well-being along a broad spectrum of possibilities. This self-revealing process will inform your medical and end-of-life decisions, get your family “on board” with your preferences, and assert your individuality and authority with your medical/care providers.
You may wonder what scenarios you and your family may face as you age and health declines. How can you keep your carers from the struggle of second-guessing your wishes? How can you cultivate family dynamics that encourage healthy dialogue and result supporting the decisions you’ve chosen. Talking about this won’t kill you; not talking about it may cultivate the stressful conditions that will.
Education about possible scenarios allows you consider in advance what you would prefer. For every treatment, or non-treatment, there are costs and trade-offs. How to communicate with your providers and caregivers so that your preferences are known and honored is an important outcome of this work. Or, if you are caring for a loved one, you will benefit from learning about treatment and care trade-offs.
Identifying Beliefs, Values, and Goals
Making decisions about how you want your care is informed by knowing what you believe in now, what values are most important to you now, and what you want to achieve through your carefully-considered directives. At no other time in one’s life are identifying these more important. At least every six months, reflection on these is recommended.
Planning and Documenting Preferences
Tools and specialized documents exist, or can be created, to contain your preferences for others to follow, especially when the time comes when you cannot speak for yourself. How do you want your dying? Who will take care of you? What is an acceptable level of discomfort or disconnection? What do you want to happen after you die? Are there particular cultural or traditional rituals or processes you want to be sure are supported? What do you want your family and community to know, and remember, about you?
Advanced Medical Directive Planning and Implementation
Documents that include Advanced Directives, MOLST or POLST forms, and Five Wishes, serve as documented direction for those who want to care for you in the best way possible --- the way you personally choose for your treatment or end-of-life. Without such documentation, you are abdicating your desires to the medical system and will of others. Without these, you leave medical professionals, family, and friends unsettled and perhaps in conflict about the best way to care for you.
Advocacy with Medical/Care Teams
Advocacy requires skillful communication with family, friends, and medical/ care teams. Respect for, and knowledge about, your individual preferences for treatment or care enables your medical/care team to know you better. Knowing you better helps them adapt their care in partnership with you, for the best possible outcome in alignment with your beliefs, values, and goals.
And, I help you, and your family, grasp what is being said in plain language from the multi-perspectives of various medical specialists and support professionals. That way everyone is accountable for coming into alignment with your stated goals of care.
Family Planning Meetings
Many times family members and friends have conflicting points of view regarding treatment options and outcomes that may, or may not be, in alignment with what is most important to you. Their own pain, or personal agendas, can diminish their ability to support you. It may trigger hurtful, and unproductive, family dynamics. Having a skilled advocate who facilitates family planning meetings with experience and compassion allows for respectful airing of concerns to achieve the family healing, bonding, and support you most need and want.