End-of-Life Decisions for Mesothelioma Patients

At some point in the course of their disease, people who have malignant mesothelioma will need to have some tough discussions and make some difficult decisions.

Though treatment has improved and many patients are provided with survival times that have far surpassed those seen in previous years, the condition remains terminal.

Here are some of the conversations that mesothelioma patients will need to have, along with some tips for how to go about having them.

When to end treatment

Opting for palliative treatment rather than curative treatment for your mesothelioma is something that some family members or friends may reject, but at the end the decision is yours. If you have chosen to focus on you quality of life rather than duration and people are urging you to continue fighting, make it clear that you’ve fully explored all options, that you are comfortable with your decision and that their support would be very helpful to you.

Make sure that your medical team is included in your decision so that they can provide you with the resources to keep you comfortable and make sure you are prepared.

Hospice care

Hospice care has proven to be one of the most valuable services available to mesothelioma patients as they approach the end of their lives. Hospice provides the ability to focus on quality of life rather than the number of days or weeks remaining, accepting death as the inevitable outcome and aiming at keeping you alert and pain free.

Advance directives

Advanced directives provide the mesothelioma patient with the opportunity to specifically detail the type of treatment that they are open to receiving and what the treatments are that they do not want to have administered.

They are legal documents that can include “Do Not Resuscitate” orders. Once an advanced directive has been written, it is important that family members and those closest to the patient have copies or immediate access so that their instructions can be followed.

Letter of instructions

A letter of instruction is different from legal documents like advanced directives. The purpose of a letter of instruction is to provide your family members and friends with the information that they need to address all of the small details that are important to you.

These can range from where to find important documents and who should be contacted and notified of your death to who you want to take care of your pets. A letter of instruction can also contain information about how you would like your burial or memorial service conducted. Copies of letters of instruction should be given to people you trust, with instructions about their distribution.

The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net understand the challenge that mesothelioma patients face, and we are here to help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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