Holiday Season is Perfect Time to “Talk Turkey” about End-of-Life Care Wishes

Compassion & Choices Provides Tips to Families to Discuss Issue Everyone Will Face

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Fewer than half of Americans over age 40 have completed an advance directive outlining what medical treatments they would want if they couldn't communicate, according to a poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) November 07, 2013

The upcoming holiday season is the perfect time to “talk turkey over turkey” with your family about an important issue we all will face: our wishes for end-of-life care. It is the key message in the featured holiday story of the Fall 2013 issue of Compassion & Choices Magazine.

Fewer than half of Americans over age 40 have completed an advance directive outlining what medical treatments they would want if they couldn't communicate, according to a poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Ironically, more than half of the Americans over 40 in the survey have already been caregivers for a sick relative or friend.

Compassion & Choices’ End-of-Life Consultation (EOLC) program has provided confidential, personal support for thousands of people over the last 20 years. People call our toll-free number (800-247-7421) specifically about end-of-life planning, such as preparation of advance directives.

“Everyone wants to die peacefully and with dignity. But it takes more than hope to achieve this end-of-life outcome,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, who was an ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant for 25 years. “Making and communicating end-of-life plans is absolutely necessary to ensure we get the treatment we want – and to avoid treatment we don’t want. This step is especially important to prepare for a time we may be unable to speak for ourselves.”

How do families start this uncomfortable conversation? After many attempts to engage her family, one Compassion & Choices client set her Thanksgiving table with advance directive forms at every place setting and announced: “Nobody gets dinner until these are filled out.”

That tough-turkey tactic may not work for everyone. The best approach is the one that suits you and your family. While it’s important to fill out this paperwork, it’s essential is to get the conversation going.

“Talking Turkey Over Turkey” tips include:

  •     “Appetizers” that could lead the way to a satisfying dialogue;
  •     Four key questions your conversation should cover; and
  •     Free tools you need to guide your conversation and document the results.

For more information, visit http://www.compassionandchoices.org/what-we-do/advance-planning, or call 800-247-7421 to speak to a Compassion & Choices’ consultant or to request information.

With over 30 local groups and 40,000 members and supporters throughout the United States, Compassion & Choices leads the end-of-life choice movement. We support, educate and advocate. Learn more at: http://www.compassionandchoices.org.


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