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Straight Talk Needed to Choose Health Care at the End of Life

Posted on 07/18/2013

Harvard Health Publications: Birth, childhood, adulthood and death span the book of life. Unfortunately, many people tend to avoid thinking or talking about how they want the final chapter to read. For the seriously ill or elderly—and even those who aren’t—not expressing wishes and desires about health care at the end of life comes with risks. “If you are not clear about that, you may end up getting care that will keep you alive but could render you in a state that you find intolerable or unacceptable,” explains Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and medical editor of Living Wills, a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report that covers advance directives, the health care power of attorney, and other key planning documents …

A lot of free help is now available for making these decisions. The Conversation Project offers a “starter kit” to help people prepare to discuss their end-of-life wishes—with each other, and with their doctors.

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