by Victoria Brewster, MSW
As professionals we are sometimes the ones to lead the conversation with clients, patients and their families.
This is not the conversation you would have with your kids about the ‘birds and bees’, but another conversation that is really meant for and between adults. This does not mean that the kids cannot be part of the process, if interested and maturity wise they can handle the topic. They should be included.
This discussion is about Advance Care Directives, Wills, DNR orders, Mandates, Power of Attourney forms regarding In Case of Incapacity. Each state, province and country has different rules for this. No one form appears to be accepted by all states and provinces nor do all medical settings accept these forms. Look into the legalities of what is acceptable. This is why it has do be discussed ahead of time. While in crisis mode, one often does not ‘think’ clearly, emotions are high along with stress levels.
For many adult children it is difficult to bring up what is an uncomfortable topic with their older parents, but it is needed. Before a crisis occurs, before a trip to the hospital, before a diagnosis by a physician that there is nothing that can be done.
No one wants to be in the hospital setting trying to make decisions with or for a family member during a crisis.
So, let’s assume you are in the home enironment, it is a family dinner or family holiday gathering; everyone is relaxed (hopefully). How do you bring up the topic?
Guidelines-7 questions have been put out by www.StrokeAndAf.ca and there is a video of a Barbershop Quartet that can help start……The Conversation.
1- Start early
2- Be supportive and understanding
3- Use everday opportunities to initiate ‘The Talk’- casually over a cup of coffee, while shopping, etc.
5- Be patient and be honest
6- Develop a plan
7- Keep the lines of communication open