If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are an awful lot of decisions that need to be made about the type of medical treatments you wish to submit to. It is important to put thought into what you want done to help improve your situation. It makes equal sense to think about your wishes for down the road, when your illness may leave you in a condition where you are no longer able to express what you want. When you are facing a terminal illness, it is essential that you do what is called “advance care planning” to make sure that your voice is heard when end-of-life decisions need to be made.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning looks at all of the decisions that you as a mesothelioma patient will typically need to make at the end of life. The planning allows you to make decisions ahead of time. It lets both your health care providers and your family know what your wishes are, and does so in a way that makes them legally binding. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you will get the care that you want, and eliminates the need for family members to make those decisions for you.
Some of the types of decisions that are included in advance care planning are:
- Do you want CPR administered
- Do you want to be put on a ventilator
- Do you want artificial nutrition or hydration
- The type of comfort care do you want administered
Where to start with advance care planning
Mesothelioma patients should start their advance care planning by thinking about what they want done in an emergency. Your physician can let you know what lies ahead for your condition, and what types of emergent situations might arise. Once you have a sense of what to expect, you need to think about your own values and what you believe adds to your quality of life – as well as where quality of life stops existing. Do you want to stay alive as long as possible, or is there a certain event you want to survive to be able to witness at all costs? There are no right or wrong answers. This is an extremely personal decision. Some people choose to make it alone, while others involve family members, clergy and their healthcare team in their discussions.
Once you’ve made your decision, the next step is to make your advance care wishes known. You can do this through a living will, a durable power of attorney, or other types of documents. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can assist you in getting started on this, as well as providing other valuable information that mesothelioma patients need. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.