How to Talk with Your Healthcare Providers
One of the most common issue in maneuvering through the healthcare maze is how to communicate. Talking with your doctor or healthcare providers about your end-of-life wishes is a discussion to have before a crisis occurs. Chances are that he or she is waiting for you to start the conversation.
When you discuss your concerns and choices:
- Ask your doctor to explain treatments and procedures that may seem confusing before you complete your directives.
- Let your doctor know that you are completing your advance directives.
- Make sure your doctor is willing to follow your directives. The law does not force physicians to follow directives if they disagree with your wishes for moral or ethical reasons.
- Give your doctor a copy of your completed directives. Make sure your doctor knows the name and telephone number of your appointed healthcare agent.
- Assure your doctor that your family and your appointed healthcare agent know your wishes.
You may ask your doctor specifically:
- Will you talk openly and candidly with me and my family about my illness?
- What decisions will my family and I have to make, and what kinds of recommendations will you give to help us make these decisions?
- What will you do if I have a lot of pain or other uncomfortable symptoms?
- How will you help us find excellent professionals with special training when we need them (e.g., medical, surgical and palliative care specialists, faith leader, social workers, etc.)?
- Will you let me know if treatment stops working so that my family and I can make appropriate decisions?
- Will you still be available to me even when I am close to the end of my life?