RELATIONSHIPS: End of Life Planning | Great Health Guide
RELATIONSHIPS: End of Life Planning

RELATIONSHIPS: End of Life Planning

‘End of Life Planning’ by Kerry Shannon published in Great Health Guide (Apr 2016). Death is not an easy subject to discuss with loved ones however knowing their wishes enables you to act confidently on their behalf, knowing that you are doing exactly what they desire. Discussing incapacitation and end of life issues is an empowering action to take at any age. To learn how to plan for this unexpected time and make life easier for everyone involved, read this article by Kerry.
Read other Relationship articles on Great Health Guide, a hub of expert-inspired resources empowering busy women to embody health beyond image … purpose beyond measure.

Relationships: End of Life Planning

written by Kerry Shannon

Knowing your loved ones’ wishes enables you to act confidently on their behalf, knowing that you are doing exactly what they desire. Planning for the unexpected time you can’t speak for yourself is an incredible kindness to those you love. 

It is well established that women are the primary decision makers for their families’ health. They most often assume caregiver duties during all stages of life whether it is their significant other, children, or parents. Women also are increasingly creating their own wealth, living longer than men and tending to think of others before themselves. Thus women, no matter what age, should know in detail the advance care wishes of their loved ones and should create their own comprehensive end of life plan. 

When it becomes necessary to speak for a loved one who is incapacitated, not knowing exactly what to say or how to speak to physicians can be intimidating, even paralyzing. God forbid this happens with your lover, mother, sister or best friend when a doctor approaches you in a hospital hallway asking you what to do. Would you know how she felt about being on life support short term or long term? Would you know that life support includes a number of things like drugs and feeding tubes, not just respirators? Would you know who she wants to take care of her cats? Plants? Bills? How do you know you are making the right decision? Do you just go along with what the doctor says, not even questioning the possible outcomes? So often families have not ever discussed what to do or there are only the generalities, ‘my daughter, wife, mother knows what I want.’ You might have an idea but another loved one could have a different viewpoint. This is a time when emotions run very high. Most of us have heard heartbreaking stories or have witnessed families fighting or even torn apart because they can’t agree on the proper course of action. 

Want your own FREE COPY of Great Health Guide

& delivered to your inbox each month?

Look to your right…


Making sure that your loved ones have considered their end of life plan, that they have shared, will allow you to have substantive conversations with their doctors ensuring your loved ones receive the care they desire. When the doctor recommends a procedure you will ask, ‘What is the likelihood that she or he will return to the state they were in before this latest episode; return to decision making capacity; have the ability to enjoy the company of loved ones; will have the ability to feed themselves?’ Then, depending on the doctors’ answers, you can form a plan that best fits your loved ones’ instructions. You and your family, can act together and support each other knowing that you are honoring your loved ones wishes. No doubts. No fighting. No regrets. 

Conversely, don’t burden your family and loved ones with expectations that they know what you want. Make sure you have considered, documented and communicated your wishes and instructions with your loved ones, doctors and advisors. Those who love you want to respect your wishes but cannot do so if you have not provided the information. Having completed your own plan, it will make it easier for you to start the conversations with your loved ones, especially those who might be reluctant to talk about such issues. 

None of us envision that a devastating car accident will happen to us. But if we are prepared, it will be easier on those we love. Recently a report from The Institute of Medicine said that, ‘a lack of an end of life plan, created well in advance, typically leads to prolonged hospitalization, soaring medical bills and unnecessary pain and suffering for everyone.’ End of life planning is about living with the knowledge that you have prepared for the future. It is about peace of mind for you and those you love.

Author of this article:
Kerry Shannon is an American health care consultant with over 30 years’ experience and a Masters degree from Loyola University Medical School in Bioethics and Health Policy. Her job working in hospitals for decades allowed her to witness first hand people suffering because their loved one did not provide meaningful end of life planning. Kerry, with her husband Steve Byrne, created this website which is a secure, comprehensive online guide and toolkit for all end of life issues. Please direct questions and comments to Steve’s email address.

To get your FREE MAG each month CLICK HERE.

Love this? Your friends probably will too. 

Why not share the love & forward this article.  

Author Great Health Guide

More posts by Great Health Guide

Leave a Reply