I learned a lot from being the primary caregiver for my father, Frank. He had chronic COPD and other illnesses that required us to work with doctors and medical care providers often. I knew that he needed and wanted my help to figure out his medical needs and treatment options, but there were many things I did not know about how much help he wanted from me and the details of what kinds of treatment he was most comfortable with.
Dad did have a medical power of attorney and a living will. He considered his wishes about whether or not he wanted to be resuscitated if his heart stopped on several different occasions. These documents were helpful to all of his caregivers, but now there is more help for the aging and ill and their caregivers.
PREPARE is a new website just launched this month that outlines a process of engaging caregivers and their care receivers to clarify the role of the caregiver and how to interact most effectively with the medical healthcare providers.
Users can employ the site like a workbook to determine answers to their specific questions about choosing a medical decision maker and how to work with this person and with their doctors. There is a five step process to work through. The final stage is to develop an action plan to take one step in this process.
Or users can watch a video that covers various possibilities through case studies of typical users. Watching the video together with family members could ease the way into open and honest discussion of difficult end of life issues. Click this link to view the PREPARE website.