It’s easy to make the wrong decisions, even with the right intentions. This rings true for most families caring for a sick loved one. You want to provide the best care, but acting without first making the right considerations won’t help.
If you’re facing this kind of situation right now, pause and remember that the patient is the one suffering the most. Your ill loved one should always take priority in every step you make. This means respecting their decisions and putting them above your own. Your next priority is finding out how to do it.
Are There Advance Medical Directives?
Advance medical directives are common for those suffering from terminal illnesses. These written, legal documents instruct doctors of preferred treatments. The guidelines apply when the patient is no longer capable of making decisions for themselves.
Since it’s unlikely that these documents will cover every decision, a health care surrogate receives a power of attorney to make them. It’s usually the spouse, a relative, or a member of a faith group that patients name in the advance medical directives.
If that health care surrogate is you, it’s your job to honor their ‘living will’ and make decisions that adhere to them. This could mean transferring to a facility near their home in Southern Indiana. It can also include options like hospice services instead of an extensive treatment you want them to have. Agreeing to this is difficult, but do it for them anyway.
What’s the Diagnosis?
An evaluation of the patient’s diagnosis helps in making realistic decisions. Consult with two or three experts to help you make well-informed choices. Talk about specific treatments, and whether they’ll prove useful in the patient’s current state.
This might be one of the hardest conversations you’ll have, both with the patient and with the doctors. Have them anyway. It’s essential to know about reversible conditions and lost capacities, as well as the possibility of death.
Toxic positivity, especially in the form of denial, will not only do more harm to your emotional health. It will also leave you unprepared in case your loved one’s condition takes a turn for the worse.
Steel yourself for these conversations. Always ask experts or people who have undergone the same experience for their advice. Setting the right expectations and preparing for all kinds of scenarios will lighten the burden on your shoulder in the long run.
How Does the Intervention Help?
Once you have your options laid out, you have to ask yourself how helpful these interventions are to you and your loved one. What goal are you trying to achieve? Is it to lessen their suffering as they meet their end? Are both of you willing to fight the condition in hopes of making a full recovery?
You need to set your mind to a specific course of action to better decide on an intervention. There could also be alternatives you haven’t considered that might reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of the treatment.
In every critical medical decision, think about the short-term and long-term effects on your loved one. If it will burden them or cause more suffering in their physical, mental, and emotional health, opt for a different option. The best care isn’t always the one that cures, but the one that provides comfort in an irreversible situation.
There’s no quick way to arrive at these decisions. You’ll experience a rollercoaster of emotions and even misunderstandings with other family members. Stay strong and take the time to rest. It’s with a clear mind that you’re able to care better for your ill loved one.