If you or a loved one has been given a terminal diagnoses, it is necessarily a life sentence? What do you want in the last few months or years of your life? Do you have the right to ask for and yes, demand that you be given what you want as you make this transition from this plane of existence into the next one?
In many institutions and health care facilities or even within the home of the patient, care plans are developed to list medications and conditions to be addressed. Rarely, do they mention the patent's wants, needs and dreams for a good death.
It is important to have a plan of care in addition to a care plan. In a plan of care, you will fulfill as many of the dreams, desires, wants and wishes of the patient as possible so that they can have "a good death."
Wishes and Wants
One of my mother's wishes for her final "I Want List" was to be buried with her mouth full of chocolate covered raisins. She said she wanted to wake up Resurrection Morning with chocolate running down her chin! The nurse was appalled, the funeral director said no one had ever asked for such a thing, but we were insistent.
If your wish, or the wish of your loved one, is to visit a tropical island one more time, it may be accomplished. Perhaps the actual flight and all the associated problems forestall the actual trip, but you can play hula music, put up some posters and wear a lei. This gives the dying person some sense of control and choice over their own passing from one sphere of live to another.
What would you want if it were possible? What do you wish for? What are the kinds of music you want to hear? The smells you would like to smell one more time? The old friend you would like to visit just one more time? Ask for what would make you happy, not just comfortable.
Choices and Voices
Everyone feels more empowered when we have a voice and a choice in our life and death take place. Anytime a patient is asked "What do you want?" you will get more cooperation and contentment.
As a personal historian who helps people write their memoirs, life stories and life reviews, I can tell you that dying people want to know that their life has had meaning and that they are a valued part of society and will be remembered. By interacting with each other and sharing our thoughts, dreams, desires we maintain that frail connection and community of caring.
Individual Rights Are Still In Place
No matter how infirm, advanced in age or ill we become, we still have individual rights and should be treated with respect and caring. By stating to an advocate, either caregiver or family member, what we want and need to make this transition more meaningful, we have a right to expect to have our wishes met.
Good Luck and God Bless on Your Journey