Bioethics News

Jump-Starting Hard Conversations As The End Nears

July 25, 2017

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Bannon had difficult end-of-life-care conversations with his parents, both in their mid-80s, before his mother’s diagnosis. During those  discussions, held at Bannon’s urging, his parents decided how far they wanted doctors to go to keep them alive should they become too sick to communicate. Bannon then documented their wishes.

“That helped so much, because you knew at least one thing was going to be taken care of,” said Bannon, 65, of San Francisco, whose mother survived and lives with Bannon’s father in Wethersfield, Conn.

Most Americans avoid end-of-life decisions, although some people may be more likely to make them if a doctor or social worker starts the discussion. In California, the state’s attorney general’s office offers an end-of-life planning checklist on its website. In the past few years, other websites have encouraged those conversations, with their own suggestions on how to get started.

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.