Thank you for highlighting the importance of having these conversations with our loved ones. That is an important part of assuring that your final months go well. The next part is really understanding the limited benefit of many medical treatments for those in their final months of life. I worked for a hospice for 25 years and left to write a book to help nonmedical people to understand the futility of many treatments that people receive in their final months. Some of the treatments not only fail to help them medically improve but also may in fact hasten their dying and increase their physical suffering. Educating yourself about this is also essential in avoiding unnecessary suffering. I would also be happy to lend my support (in any area) on the clinical side of things.
-Betsy Murphy, 12/16/2008