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Are You Ready? End of Life Planning

Online Resources for Advanced Planning



Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it's part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. How long bereavement lasts can depend on how close you were to the person who died, if the person's death was expected and other factors. Friends, family and faith may be sources of support. Grief counseling or grief therapy is also helpful to some people.

  • Grief and Loss:  Information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology

Making Your Wishes Known

If you lose the ability to make decisions, someone will have to make decisions for you. The person you choose to make those decisions for you is known as a surrogate.  Your surrogate—or proxy—should try to honor any wishes you expressed while you were still capable of making decisions. Your expressed wishes are legally and ethically more important than what others want for you, even if they feel that they are acting in your best interests.

In order to help a surrogate carry out your wishes, there are legal documents that allow you to spell out your healthcare decisions ahead of time.  These documents are called advance directives (also known as advance care plans). 

  • PREPARE for Your Care: PREPARE is a step-by-step program with video stories to help you have a voice in your medical care, talk with your doctors, and give your family and friends peace of mind. An online program from the University of California, San Francisco


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Communicating Your Wishes

When it comes to end-of-life care, talking matters. What a conversation can do is provide a shared understanding of what matters most to you and your loved ones. This can make it easier to make decisions when the time comes.

  • The Conversation Project: The Conversation Project, an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.

Have you had the conversation with a  loved one? 

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