Individuals can, and should, take control for quality of their life throughout their lives, including at the end of life. Doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants should help initiate discussions with their patients about such decisions. If they don’t, start the conversation.
Your doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and other members of your medical team that are caring for you when you are seriously ill or dying play an important part in making sure your values, beliefs, goals and preferences for care and treatment are understood and met.
They should choose how they want to live at the end of their life, who they trust to make decisions if they lose the ability to do so.
You have a right to participate in the planning of your health care even if you lose the capacity to make decisions. Completing a health care proxy and having a discussion ahead of time gives you the ability to exercise this right. Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and members of your medical team have a legal, moral, and professional responsibility to assure this right is honored.
It is helpful to speak to your doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and other key members of your medical team ahead of time about what is important to you. Ask them questions about the kind of support you think you may need and whether they think that they could provide this support to you. Below are the types of questions some individuals have asked their doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and other members of their medical team.
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