End-of-Life Wishes – Definition & Detailed Explanation – End-of-Life and Hospice Care Glossary

What are end-of-life wishes?

End-of-life wishes refer to the preferences and decisions individuals make regarding their medical care and treatment at the end of their lives. These wishes are important because they ensure that individuals receive the care they desire and that their values and beliefs are respected during a time when they may not be able to communicate their preferences.

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document that allows individuals to specify their end-of-life wishes in advance. This document typically includes instructions on the type of medical care individuals want or do not want, as well as the appointment of a healthcare proxy to make decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. Advance directives are important because they provide clarity and guidance to healthcare providers and loved ones about an individual’s preferences for end-of-life care.

What is a living will?

A living will is a type of advance directive that specifically outlines an individual’s preferences for medical treatment in the event that they are unable to communicate their wishes. This document typically includes instructions on life-sustaining treatments such as resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and artificial nutrition and hydration. A living will allows individuals to have control over their medical care and ensures that their wishes are followed even if they are unable to express them.

Who is a healthcare proxy?

A healthcare proxy, also known as a healthcare agent or surrogate decision-maker, is an individual appointed by an individual to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. This person should be someone who knows the individual well and understands their values and preferences for medical care. A healthcare proxy is responsible for advocating for the individual’s wishes and ensuring that their end-of-life wishes are honored.

What is a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order?

A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is a medical order that instructs healthcare providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiac arrest. This order is typically requested by individuals who do not want to undergo aggressive life-saving measures at the end of their lives. A DNR order is an important part of end-of-life care planning and ensures that individuals receive the care they desire.

What is hospice care?

Hospice care is a type of end-of-life care that focuses on providing comfort and support to individuals with terminal illnesses. Hospice care is designed to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This type of care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and counselors, who work together to provide holistic care to individuals at the end of their lives. Hospice care can be provided in a variety of settings, including the individual’s home, a hospice facility, or a hospital.