Caring for cancer patients, in the final days of their lives, they may not be able to talk to their doctors or make decisions for themselves. Future care plans help ensure that their wishes for treatment are fulfilled. Indeed, if a person does not plan ahead, the family may not know what their loved one wishes for in the last days of life. So this article helps us to understand a fairly new concept “future care plan”.
1. What is the future care plan?
Your future care plan is to talk to your family, friends, and doctors so they know your health care treatment wishes and personal wishes if you are unable to make your decisions. Writing down your values, beliefs, and desires for future health care is a future care plan.
Besides, this is also one of the end-of-life care policies in many countries. At the end of life, patients are discussed and documented future care preferences, with the aim of helping them to have a euthanasia that is consistent with their wishes.
2. Why is a future care plan needed?
When we’re healthy, it’s sometimes difficult to think about being sick. Many families avoid talking about cancer and end-of-life problems. But experts have found that people who spend time thinking about their health while they can, experience less anxiety and stress in the future. And future care planning also eases the burden on their loved ones.
3. What does a future care plan include?
3.1 Beliefs, values and desires
Future care planning begins by thinking about your beliefs, values, and expectations about future health care or the last days of your life. Then tell this to your family, friends, and doctor.
When people you trust know what’s important and what you want for your future health care, it’s easier for them to make decisions that will help you in the future.
The following questions can help you think about what is important to you.
- What makes my life meaningful?
- What is important to me?
- Where do I want to be cared for the last days of my life?
- Who do I want to make decisions for me if I can’t?
- What do I not want to happen?
- Have I organized my tasks? Example of writing a will?
3.2 Arrange the necessary tasks in order
Future care planning is the best time to put all your paperwork together. These documents may include
- The wishes and the name of the person to be fulfilled
- Information about the desire to donate organs
- Insurance and financial documents
- Important documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate
- Details of funeral arrangements or wishes to be buried, such as a desire to be cremated
- Your internet password (consider who you trust or change important accounts)
You should document your future care plans in places where the person helping you to fulfill your wishes can be found.
3.3 Changes to future care plans
You can change your future care plan whenever you want – a future care plan is a piece of paper that records your wishes, beliefs and values. For example, now you want to be buried, but 3 months later you want to be cremated. Expectations are subject to constant change.
When writing out your future plan, it’s a good idea to discuss it with people you trust like family, friends, and your doctor.
3.4 Decide where you want to spend the last days of your life
Some people feel fairly certain about where they want to be cared for in their final days, for example terminal cancer patients who want home care or hospital care. However, for others, this is a very difficult topic to discuss or decide on. It is also not uncommon for people to change their thoughts and desires as their illness progresses.
It is important to discuss your options with your family, caregivers and the doctors treating you. There should also be contingency plans for unforeseen circumstances.
3.5 Funeral plan
Currently, many sick people choose to plan their funeral, when their health condition is still well controlled. The level of planning varies from person to person: some will say they want to be buried or cremated, some just want to choose songs or chants for their funeral; Others plan every aspect such as the celebrant, the funeral services, the dress decisions for all in attendance.
Recording what kind of funeral you want is very helpful for your family and friends. They can organize your funeral according to your wishes, and what is considered important to you.
Remember that this is your future care plan – you may not want to answer all the questions – you only need to complete the parts that are important to you.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.